Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Sitemaps

... the start of an experiment

I have been reading up on the Google Sitemaps over the past few week. A Google sitemap is an XML file with all the URL to all the pages of your website and you can add some extra data to it like: last update date, change frequency. In theory it should make Google crawl the site more efficiently. Although it is still in Beta I have decided to give a go.

To see if the Google Sitemaps offer some benefit I have devised a little test project. I have used a free tool to generate a sitemap and have added to that a URL to a page that is not linked to from any of my pages. On that page is a link to a further page that is not linked to.

If I can see that Google spiders these two loose pages then I know that there is some benefit from the Google Sitemaps.

I have uploaded the sitemap.xml on my site and have signaled Google around 7 pm last night. This morning I saw that the sitemap was downloaded by Google about one and a half, two hours later!

As an added bonus I got a list of pages that Google tried to crawl on my site but could no longer find. Yep, I had deleted those. So, I can now figure out what to do about that. Probably just ignore it. Read more about these handy sitemap statistics.

For now I am already seeing some interesting effects.

Can't wait to see more results.