When most webmasters start considering optimizing their website, they automatically think of making their website optimized for Google. This is because of the Google’s monopoly in the search industry. Google tries to keep its algorithm unique and has a number of search engine concepts that are unique their search engines. For example, PageRank is unique to Google, and the famed Google Sitemap is specific to Google – a fact that SEO professionals cannot ignore.
We cannot ignore the fact that the importance of Google sitemap for getting good search ranking is increasing. Google has provided this avenue for us and expects us to use it as it makes everything easier when Google crawls the web looking for fresh and updated content. If you want to invite the Google search bot frequently to your website, you must make sure to submit a Google Sitemap.
Google Sitemap is different from the regular sitemap you may have in your websites (an HTML page viewable by visitors for navigation). The Google sitemap is not for public viewing. It is meant for Google’s search bots. Google sitemaps are XML files and they are not available for the visitors on your site. So far, only Google is using this sitemap feature – although other search engines often follow Google’s lead. Since Google controls a market share of 70% in the search industry, it is very important that you gain visibility in Google to take advantage of Google’s online popularity.
Google’s spiders try to get important information about your website through the sitemap, so if you present it to Google this will help the spiders to crawl and index your website completely. A regular crawl without the Google Sitemap will not guarantee a complete indexing, as a number of pages might not be accessed by the search bots for various reasons.
For example, if you have a simple ecommerce website and your products pages are accessible only through the site’s search feature, then Google’s spider may not access these pages unless you have a way of telling the search bot about those pages. In such cases, having Google Sitemap can ensure that even the products pages that are only reached via search feature are indexed. It is important to have all the pages of your website indexed, since only the indexed pages will feature in the search results. The greater the number of indexed pages you have, the greater your chances are of featuring in the search results.
In addition, the Google Sitemap will tell Google how frequently your website is updated. If your website is frequently updated, but not frequently crawled and re-indexed, then the latest updates may not reflect in the search results because Google will be listing your site according to the information it has in its cache. This means some of your latest offers and promotions may not feature in the search results. A Google sitemap with an update frequency can help keep your site up to date in the search engine’s database, as they will crawl more frequently and update the cached result.
If you have just a 5 page website, you probably will not appreciate the importance of Google sitemap. But there are websites with thousands of pages and it is imperative to have Google sitemaps for such websites. Failing in this area can put such a webmaster in a very disadvantageous position, so ask your SEO firm to add a Google Sitemap to your website!