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Do we really need sitemaps?
shaunm




msg:4490833
 7:14 am on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

The topic might not be that great but I still confused. Can you show me some lights?

1. Do we really need a sitemap for a website?
2. Being without a sitemap will reduce my ranking chances at all?
3. Will sitemap increase the chances of webpages getting crawled and indexed SOONER/FASTER comparing with a website without Sitemap?
4. As some people claim that Google has around 200 factors to rank a webpage, is sitemap one of those?

Thanks,

 

klark0




msg:4490963
 2:36 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO, for small sites, no not needed.
For large sites, definitely needed.
Sitemaps aren't a ranking factor.

RegDCP




msg:4490979
 4:05 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

#1 NO
#2 NO
#3 NO
#4 NO

If your site has properly designed navigation there is absolutely no need for a sitemap.

OTOH, a sitemap can cause problems. Google "sitemap problems" to see.

(Edit). A sitemap is a crutch for poor navigation.

[edited by: RegDCP at 4:58 pm (utc) on Sep 3, 2012]

Pjman




msg:4490984
 4:33 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Unless you completely screw up the nav. or inherent a site that is a mess; and refuse to change it; there is no point to site maps.

Marshall




msg:4490989
 5:12 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

If your site has properly designed navigation there is absolutely no need for a sitemap.

If you are at all concerned about accessibility, sitemaps are important. Many styles of dynamic navigation are not accessibility friendly, e.g. easily read by text readers for the visually impaired. Another consideration is that it provides a backup in the event your regular dynamic navigation fails. Remember, not everything works equally well in every browser, or for that matter device. Besides, it cannot hurt.

Marshall

RegDCP




msg:4490991
 5:29 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

You make good points Marshall.
But just Google "sitemap problems" and then repeat "It cannot hurt".

tedster




msg:4491008
 6:47 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I see sitemaps as the easiest way to know roughly how many URLs you've got indexed, thanks to the Webmaster Tools report.

Another plus, when a site publishes a lot of new content on a regular basis, it helps to get that content into the index a bit faster. But no, you don't "need" them and they are not a ranking factor.

lucy24




msg:4491030
 8:38 pm on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you are at all concerned about accessibility, sitemaps are important. Many styles of dynamic navigation are not accessibility friendly, e.g. easily read by text readers for the visually impaired. Another consideration is that it provides a backup in the event your regular dynamic navigation fails. Remember, not everything works equally well in every browser, or for that matter device. Besides, it cannot hurt.

It sounds as if you're talking about a human-accessible sitemap page. I thought the question was about a made-for-robots file such as sitemap.xml

MarvinH




msg:4492314
 2:14 pm on Sep 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tedster wrote:

I see sitemaps as the easiest way to know roughly how many URLs you've got indexed, thanks to the Webmaster Tools report.


Tedster, I don't use a site map, and I still have access to that info in Webmaster Tools > Health > Index Status

tedster




msg:4492586
 3:28 am on Sep 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I do see what you mean. But, from that report, I don't easily see how many URLs that I would consider "duplicate" are also being included. With a sitemap I know what percentage of URLs that I WANT to see indexed are actually in there.

The "Ever Crawled" stat is a help in this direction, but that information doesn't get granular enough for my purposes with some sites. If the site is technically "locked down" to avoid the various canonical errors and so on, then the report you point to is OK, I guess.

ergophobe




msg:4492596
 5:38 am on Sep 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Dave Naylor used to always argue (perhaps still does) that sitemaps are bad because they mask problems. His logic was that you can get crawled and indexed just based on your sitemap, but you'll never rank based on just that.

He would rather be able to see whether a page has the juice to get indexed based on internal and external links pointing to it. If you have no sitemap and a page gets indexed, this is proof that there is a link pointing to it that Google follows and that it at least has a chance of ranking.

This was back in 2005 or 2006 or so that he was pushing this idea (and not a peep since AFAIK) and now that Google has so many more sources of URI discovery, it seems like the diagnostic value of not having a sitemap is lost, but I always thought it an interesting counterpoint.

oliondor




msg:4492685
 3:56 pm on Sep 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

Of course no ! Google is retarded but still smart enough to find your pages.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4493097
 9:43 pm on Sep 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Text readers represent 0.000018% of my traffic and the pages requested were non-existant. Does anyone even use a text reader anymore with built in browser zoom features? I suppose you need good vision to enjoy my particular niche but still...

From a search perspective you do not need a sitemap on an established site. I do find them helpful on a new site or when I need to make several url changes and want to include new and old destinations on the sitemap until Google makes the transition in their serps. A sitemap is a tool for talking to a robot and the robots are plenty smart enough these days.

They can't hurt unless they are created in dynamic fashion or by a plugin in which case they do draw resources and might merit removal.

lucy24




msg:4493112
 11:55 pm on Sep 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

now that Google has so many more sources of URI discovery, it seems like the diagnostic value of not having a sitemap is lost, but I always thought it an interesting counterpoint

It is around this point that paranoia a/o FUD kicks in and you start wondering if the whole Sitemaps page, beginning with the explicit line
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover.

and going on to say
Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

* Your site has dynamic content.
* Your site has pages that aren't easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
* Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn't well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
* Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.

is just another dirty trick. So you've got pages that people can't find, eh? Thanks for telling us. WHAM! and into the algorithm it goes.

A while back I cut my sitemap to the bone, so now it only lists directory and subdirectory index pages-- somewhere between 20 and 30 in all. Saves the bother of updating, and keeps the robots happy.

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