Google's Webmaster Tools Team published a synopsis of the questions they received at Chicago's recent Search Engine Strategies Conference during the Sitemaps: Oversold, Misused or On The Money? session. If you have ever had a question about Google Sitemaps and the effect they may or may not have on your site, this is a helpful read.
Get the answers to the following questions:
- I submitted a Sitemap, but my URLs haven't been [crawled/indexed] yet. Isn't that what a Sitemap is for?
- If it doesn't get me automatically crawled and indexed, what does a Sitemap do?
- Will a Sitemap help me rank better?
- If I set all of my pages to have priority 1.0, will that make them rank higher (or get crawled faster) than someone else's pages that have priority 0.8?
- Is there any point in submitting a Sitemap if all the metadata (, , etc.) is the same for each URL, or if I'm not sure it's accurate?
- I've heard about people who submitted a Sitemap and got penalized shortly afterward. Can a Sitemap hurt you?
- Where can I put my Sitemap? Does it have to be at the root of my site?
- Can I just submit the site map that my webmaster made of my site? I don't get this whole XML thing.
- Which Sitemap format is the best?
- If I have multiple URLs that point to the same content, can I use my Sitemap to indicate my preferred URL for that content?
- Does the placement of a URL within a Sitemap file matter? Will the URLs at the beginning of the file get better treatment than the URLs near the end?
- If my site has multiple sections (e.g. a blog, a forum, and a photo gallery), should I submit one Sitemap for the site, or multiple Sitemaps (one for each section)?