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I frankly am not practical on sitemaps and I don't know how much they can effectively affect the firm's sites promotion on the web. If they are useful, how can I eventually make one?

Thanx in advance to whoever responds back.

:)

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Last Post by thehotspotguide
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Yes sitemaps are 100% useful as per SEO tech. You can directly submit google or any major search engine your site map and pages will get indexed faster.

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What kind of sitemaps? Are you talking about the HTML file or the XML file that is read by Google itself?

Either way, it helps -- it ensures that your content is being spidered or at least that the search engines are aware of it so that your content does eventually get spidered and indexed.

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XML and HTML sitemaps are not promotional tools and will not help you get more traffic. HTML sitemaps help human beings find pages on your website (if they have to use a sitemap to find your content then your site probably is difficult to navigate and you need to fix it).

XML sitemaps help search engines find your pages. You only need an XML sitemap if you use non-search engine friendly navigation on your website (i.e. javascript or flash based navigation) or some of your content can't be reached through normal inks on your website. Otherwise XML sitemaps offer you nothing.

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> Otherwise XML sitemaps offer you nothing.

I'm not so sure I agree with this, Stymiee. Google's sitemap format allows for you to include various information about each of your pages such as how often it gets updated, the last time the page is modified, and the relative priority of the page with respect to the rest of your site.

Google insists that submitting this information will allow for a "smarter crawl." Because Google's sitemap format is relatively new, I can't see them taking all this time to introduce this format and then just disregard it so soon after.

I've actually had a bad experience with Google Sitemaps in the past. Once upon a time, I had learned that people coming in from the search engines to my forum display pages converted much better than people coming into individual threads. They spent longer on the site, visited more pages, and were more likely to register. Therefore, in an effort to get Google to send more people to my forum display pages, I started giving a high priority in my sitemaps to the forum display pages, and giving a much lower priority to my actual thread pages.

This resulted in an instant reaction of Google sending me much less traffic. I was telling G to weigh my forum display pages higher, but what I seemed to have forgotten is that all that's on them is a listing of thread links with no actual content or substance. Therefore, Google didn't want to send people to these pages. And the pages full of great content - the threads - I was telling Google had a low priority on my site.

A few months later I switched the priorities around in my sitemap and saw an instant turnaround. I don't believe that it was coincidental.

However, I want to say that this all happened right after sitemaps were first introduced. It's very possible that Google had not yet defined exactly how much weight to put on them as part of their algorithm.

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I also can't completely agree with stymiee. HTML sitemaps help users, but they also help the Googlebot which crawls your site to get to those deeper pages.

XML sitemaps help the search engines know about your pages. It doesn't mean that they'll crawl your content immediately.

At the end of the day, it doesn't hurt to have both.

I actually think that having an XML sitemap on my blog caused the brand new site to be indexed within 3 weeks. Typically, you're "sandboxed" in for 9 months. The turnaround time for me was quite awesome.

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The XML sitemaps are in theory supposed to help with indexing but Google admittedly ignores the additional content they allow in sitemaps. That doesn't mean they don't use it to try to learn about the habits of webmasters but as of this point in time they don't use it to affect the crawl rates or deepness of any websites.

As with any website, the crawl rate and how deep Google will crawl will depend heavily on PR of the pages. If you want Google to crawl deeper and more frequently increase your PR. That will be much more effective then an XML sitemap.

HTML sitemaps help users, but they also help the Googlebot which crawls your site to get to those deeper pages.

But they aren't a promotional tool. They are a usability tool. To make a HTML sitemap for a search engine instead of for your users is having priorities backwards. Yes, HTML sitemaps are helpful to search engines, but only as a byproduct of helping humans first.

At the end of the day, it doesn't hurt to have both.

Definitely. They're both easy to do and should be a no-brainer especially for db driven sites as they can update both sitemaps automatically.

I actually think that having an XML sitemap on my blog caused the brand new site to be indexed within 3 weeks. Typically, you're "sandboxed" in for 9 months. The turnaround time for me was quite awesome.

Actually that sandbox theory is untrue (and just one of hundreds of different variations floating around out there). Most sites launch and never experience anything resembling the sandbox. And sites that are in the sandbox see no benefit from an xml sitemap. In fact they rarely see any benefit from anything other then waiting a year or two depending on who you ask.

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> but as of this point in time they don't use it to affect the crawl rates or deepness of any websites.

But what about the priority parameter of the Google Sitemaps, as was in my example? I gave a higher priority to the pages that Google thought were less crawlworthy and a much lower priority to the pages that Google thought were more crawlworthy. As a result, the more crawlworthy pages decreased heavily in the SERPS and the less crawlworthy pages stayed the same in the SERPS.

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Have you been able to duplicate that again? That would be the first time anyone has said they have seen results from that. I know I'd be very curious as to what you can do by changing those parameters. Care to try again? :)

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Does anyone know a shopping cart software which can generate a sitemap? Or, since carts are dynamic pages, full sitemap can't be generated for them?

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Does anyone know a shopping cart software which can generate a sitemap? Or, since carts are dynamic pages, full sitemap can't be generated for them?

Creating a sitemap can be done with simple script. Also their are couple of free online site-map creators.

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Creating a sitemap can be done with simple script. Also their are couple of free online site-map creators.

Wow, thanks:) a real-time reply!

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There are plenty of places to create a free sitemap of your site. Most places will only index about 500-700 pages. If you want to get a deeper sitemap they cost about $20 or so. Just Google search "create fee sitemap" . Some will stop at about 50,000 URLs but that should more then enough to get you started. You can then choose your sitemap type HTML,TXT, or XML. After you have created your sitemap and uploaded it to your site, make sure you can access it from your domain name, ie, www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.html or wherever you decide to put it. My advice would be to find an unlimited sitemap builder, it is not uncommon for a very small site to have 10,000 to 15, 0000 URLs. You could use www.xml-sitemaps.com or find one of your own. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.

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Sitemap are also important part of website from both search engine and users point of view. It helping in easy crawling of web pages.

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Thank you all for the discussion. I'm relieved to learn that more than one type of sitemap can be utilized in the same site without creating issues.

For our site, I began by building an XML sitemap to be utilized by the search engines. This file was referenced at the bottom of my robots.txt file. Afterwards, I was not real impressed with the "user friendliness" of this format. Not knowing how much I could tweak the formatting and still remain effective, I decided to build another sitemap in HTML. This file is much easier to read and can be accessed by visitors through links at the bottom of each page.

I've been known to dive into something on a whim and even though I mean well, sometimes I create more work for myself than was really necessary. I suppose that's part of the learning process.

Thanks to all of you for the input,
Bill

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As a user, I actually have accessed the site map of content heavy sites. By accessing the site maps, I have been able to access the information I want very quickly.

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Here's a snip from Google webmasters site.
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40318&hl=en

In general, there are two types of sitemaps. The first type of sitemap is a HTML page listing the pages of your site—often by section—and is meant to help users find the information they need.

XML Sitemaps—usually called Sitemaps, with a capital S—are a way for you to give Google information about your site. This is the type of Sitemap we'll be discussing in this article.

In its simplest terms, a Sitemap is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google's normal crawling process.

Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

* Your site has dynamic content.
* Your site has pages that aren't easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process - for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or Flash.
* Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn't well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
* Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.

You can also use a Sitemap to provide Google with additional information about your pages, including:

* How often the pages on your site change. For example, you might update your product page daily, but update your About Me page only once every few months.
* The date each page was last modified.
* The relative importance of pages on your site. For example, your home page might have a relative importance of 1.0, category pages have an importance of 0.8, and individual blog entries or product pages have an importance of 0.5. This priority only indicates the importance of a particular URL relative to other URLs on your site, and doesn't impact the ranking of your pages in search results.

Sitemaps provide additional information about your site to Google, complementing our normal methods of crawling the web. We expect they will help us crawl more of your site and in a more timely fashion, but we can't guarantee that URLs from your Sitemap will be added to the Google index. Sites are never penalized for submitting Sitemaps.

Reading this it looks like it's helpful for the google bot to crawl your entire site, BUT in the end may not be very valuable for ranking and the like.

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A site like ours, that is fairly new, small in size, and not yet very heavy with content, a sitemap may not be that critical. But, I agree that on many of the larger sites with a lot of content, an HTML sitemap that is easy to access and easy to interpret can be a valuable assett for the occasional visitor.

Until recently, I was not even aware that XML sitemaps even existed and didn't have a clue as to their intended purpose. Maybe they won't help much with rankings, but if it will help us any with search results, then maybe it's worth the extra effort.

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i totally agree with csc gal ... yeh sitemaps are very much inportant for google spiders .. mainly if i say abt xml site map .. its somewhat a techinque webmasters use to show a path to a spider while crawling ... the pages of higher piorities ar being crawled by the spiders in this way as we all know we cant afford the spiders to crawl less inportant pages for our sites is int it??

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Sitemaps are very important, especially to new websites. They help search engines index all of your websites pages.

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