Google Sitemaps ? A New Free Google Tool

Google has released another valuable. The tool, "Sitemaps", allows you to notify Google of site updates. As with all Google tools, the service is free.

Sitemaps ? What Is It?

Sitemaps is a platform that let's Webmasters notify Google of, ta da, changes to a site. In creating the tool, Google suggests the tool will let it expand coverage of pages on the web and speed up the time it takes to index sites. This goal appears to conflict with the much discussed Google Sandbox, but there is no harm in using Sitemaps.

Sitemaps ? Uploading Your Changes

Google provides two methods for using Sitemaps. The first involves creating an xml file on your server. The process is a bit detailed, so it will not be covered in this article. You can find specific instructions at:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/protocol.html

Sitemaps ? Manual Uploads

Google also provides a method to manually upload site changes. The first step is to create a list of the URL changes using Notepad. For example, we recently changed a number of pages on NomadJournals.com. To use Sitemaps, we would create the following list of URLs:

http://www.nomadjournals.com/

http://www.nomadjournals.com/travel_accessories_jour nal.cfm

http://www.nomadjournals.com/bird_watcher_books.cfm

http://www.nomadjournals.com /fly_fishing_equiptment.cfm

http://www.nomadjournals.com/hiking_camping_backpacking.cfm

Next, save the file as an .xml file. Go to Google Sitemaps at:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login

Just upload the file. That's it.

Common Questions

1. Do you need an account with Google?

You do not need an account with Google to use Sitemaps. That being said, you should open one since Sitemaps lets you monitor the progress of the indexing of your changes.

2. Will Using Sitemaps Help My Rankings?

Ah, we get to the crux of the matter. Unfortunately, Google clearly states using Sitemaps has no effect on rankings. There is a small benefit, however, in at least making sure your pages are being indexed.

3. Will Google index all of the URLs in my Sitemap?

Surprisingly, the answer is no. Still, Google wouldn't be providing the tool if it didn't have some benefit. According to Google, using Sitemaps will have no negative impact on your site rankings.

4. How long will it take for my URLs to be crawled after I generate and submit a Sitemap?

Google provides no answer to this question. Instead, it simply says indexing times should pass as the tool is refined.

In Closing

Using Google Sitemaps is probably worth the effort. If nothing else, you will be able to monitor the indexing process and progress. The best way to get your site indexed, however, remains generating links to your site.

Halstatt Pires is with http://www.marketingtitan.com - an Internet marketing and advertising company comprised of a search engine optimization specialist providing meta tag optimization services and Internet marketing consultant providing internet marketing solutions through integrated design and programming services.

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