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Google Sitemaps Thoughts

Blogged in Web Development by Andrew · Saturday June 4, 2005

Since hink asked, here are my thoughts on the whole Google Sitemaps idea.

Overall, I love it. The ability to tell the search engines “hey, check this page out often and don’t bother with these over here but once a month” could prove quite useful. That said, part of me wonders if it isn’t just adding extra work for web developers that already have too much to do, though for a proper dynamic site a little work upfront to let the site generate the sitemap itself should mostly negate that. Even so, Google seems to do a pretty good job on their own without our input.

Then of course we all know that (the majority of?) sites will use the sitemaps completely improperly. Does anyone want to bet how many “webmasters” will setup a Google Sitemap telling them to check every single page, every day, with all pages at a priority of 1.0 because everything on my site is important! The concept of ‘relative to other pages on the same site’ will escape them and while they’re only hurting themselves with that, I feel for anyone having to explain to a client why a particular page on their site was only assigned a 0.3 priority let alone 0.1.

In the end I expect it will stick around, Google will ignore a good portion of them due to improper setup, and those with well designed sitemaps will benefit. Which I like to think is a good thing.

4 Responses to “Google Sitemaps Thoughts”

  1. hink says:

    Oh yes, the sweaty populus. I’d like to think that, for awhile at least, this will coast under most people’s radar. For a little while, at least.
    The spec has a stated upper limit of 50K urls (or 10MB, apparently) and a string length limit of 2048 characters. Perhaps the sly dogs over at Google thought about the SEO miscreants ahead of time — being the target of the most pernicious of these abuses, maybe they built in some other tripwires?

    I dunno. I suppose I need to think about it longer, perhaps some glaring hole in the theory will turn up — but for right now, the idea that I can do something to legitimately influence which documents I want indexed is very appealing.

    I also wonder about this new(to me) concept of having a “Google” account. Not that I am a paranoiac; I am just curious how that plays into limiting abuse, etc.

  2. Andrew says:

    Ah but look again and we see that 50k is only the tip of the iceberg. Setup your site for multiple sitemaps and google will process up to 1,000 sitemaps with 50k urls each. I’d certainly expect Google has done their best to counter anything someone might do to abuse the new system. If that fails I’m sure they’ll have no qualms about banning you from AdSense.

    As for the Google account, oh boy I won’t even get started on that other than to say it’s a bit scary to think just how much information Google has on us from storing search queries, scanning gmail, Froogle queries / shopping lists, driving directions, and of course both adsense and sitemaps allowing them to tie you to the content on sites you own/manage. Perhaps we all should be a little more paranoid?

  3. Andrew says:

    Oh yeah, they own Urchin (web stats) now too. :-\

  4. hink says:

    Come On now, GoogleSearch Is our doubleplus good friend. :)

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