Google Sitemaps Are They Or Aren T They Lucrative SEO Tools

Google Sitemaps Are They Or Aren T They Lucrative SEO Tools

Google has had a​ feature out for some time which allows webmasters to​ create a​ sitemap file to​ help Google's crawlers find and index content.

It sounds like a​ great idea. After all,​ it's much easier to​ feed the​ crawler the​ content then hope it​ finds it​ on​ it's own.

But is​ a​ Google sitemap worthwhile? is​ it​ even necessary?

When the​ Google Sitemap program first started my thought was “That's kinda cool but what's the​ real benefit?”

So,​ I thought I'd try it​ out and submit sitemaps for a​ few sites that I own.

When Google Sitemaps first came out it​ was very difficult to​ figure out what all the​ entries meant as​ well as​ how to​ actually create the​ sitemap.

Sure,​ it​ was XML based,​ and I could plainly see what they expected but when you​ have a​ large site,​ how do you​ go about creating this?

Then Google came out with,​ a​ sitemap generator which is​ a​ program intended to​ help you​ create a​ sitemap for your site. This does help speed up the​ process but unless you​ are a​ developer it​ is​ a​ little difficult to​ implement.

Also,​ you​ need access to​ your server to​ run the​ script required to​ generate the​ sitemap. if​ you​ are unsure you​ should check with your web host to​ see if​ you​ have terminal access to​ execute Python scripts.

Personally,​ I've never tried the​ Google Sitemapper tool but I have used others. For example,​ on​ my personal blog which uses Moveable Type,​ I found a​ blog post which shows How to​ build a​ Movable Type Google sitemap template And I've used Xenu and an​ Excel spreadsheet which works great as​ well.

Now that the​ sitemap creation is​ covered,​ let's get into the​ question at​ hand. is​ a​ Google sitemap really worth the​ effort?

A few months ago I would have said no,​ but lately Google has been adding features that make me think otherwise.

For example,​ if​ you've gone through the​ verification process (which is​ really just placing a​ blank HTML file on​ the​ site and having Google find it) and ensured your 404 errors are properly configured you​ can get access to​ a​ wealth of​ additional intel.

One such feature is​ the​ “Top Search Queries.” This tells you​ which queries were used when your pages appeared in​ the​ search results but may not have been clicked on.

In other words,​ these are actual searcher queries that were performed on​ Google where your site may have appeared but not had click-through's.

From a​ keyword research point of​ view,​ this is​ a​ huge advantage to​ you. By monitoring your sitemap stats you​ can easily see some of​ the​ terms people are using and perhaps determine what you​ need to​ do to​ rank higher for those terms so you​ too can get the​ clicks that your competitors are receiving.

If you​ don't have ready access to​ log analysis or​ other stats,​ the​ Google sitemap can also tell you​ what terms actually drove traffic to​ your site.

In other words,​ these were searches performed on​ Google that actually generated clicks for your site.

There's also a​ wealth of​ other information. For example,​ "Crawl Stats" shows you​ how Googlebot sees your site,​ errors generated by it,​ and even a​ PageRank distribution chart detailing how well PageRank is​ distributed.

So,​ if​ you​ are like me and wondering if​ a​ Google sitemap is​ worth it​ I'd say yes,​ it​ is. the​ information provided,​ while mostly technical,​ can help you​ troubleshoot problems as​ well as​ provide ideas to​ help you​ improve your positioning.

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