To use sitemaps or not?

I’ve been using Google’s sitemaps tool for a few months now and built XML sitemaps for the websites I’ve launched (or relaunched) since summer. Today my SEO partner sent me an email and I got an education about why it might not be a good idea to do that anymore – mainly the argument is that getting a lot of pages indexed via a sitemap is not really helping the search engine viability of a site. It’s like if the site has 500 pages and only a hundred are indexed, adding a sitemap to get those other 400 in there isn’t really fixing the problem of non-indexing in a way that adds any value to the site. It’s masking the symptoms but not fixing the problem.

I can buy that. I read a number of blogs about this issue today and can definitely see the problem. For the sites I launched since summer, most of them have been very small and didn’t really need a sitemap at all; the only largish one was the relaunch of my business site and in that case I think the sitemap was a useful thing.

I’d changed a lot of URL’s when my business name changed, and I both used an XML sitemap and redirects for every changed page. I can say that although my current site and previous one were about the same size, I have about twice as many pages indexed for the new one and it happened very quickly, in about 3 weeks, which I don’t think could possibly have occurred without the sitemap.

It could be argued that those newly-indexed pages were ‘artificial’, but I do have a clear, consistent sitewide navigation scheme and a well-organized site. I think in this case I was speeding up what would happen naturally over a much longer time span.

So I’m convinced, in part – for the launch of a new site, a sitemap is a bad idea because with it it will be impossible to tell how a page got indexed and where the problems lie. But for relaunching an existing, well-established site with a lot of URL changes, that might be the place where they have the most value.

2 comments

  1. I agree that putting an up-to-date xml sitemap on your site speeds up the indexing of all pages … but this happens for both new and re-jigged sites. I think that any method that gets rapid indexing for

  2. I have both xml and xor sitemaps on my site + the files.txt for yahoo
    these may or may not help the indexing (I update the files when adding new pages)but if it gets one more person looking at the site then its worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code class="" title="" data-url=""> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre class="" title="" data-url=""> <span class="" title="" data-url="">