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Sitemap question...

Optimizing it for search engines

     
1:48 pm on Jul 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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On my site, I use a sitemap. it's very simple, just a page of links for the various pages on the site. The anchor text is simple for each link, just:

<blue widgets>
<red widgets>
<green widgets>
etc...

Would it help or hurt SE positioning to add some text beside each link to make it a little more human friendly? Like:

<blue widgets> - Info on different blue widgets
<red widgets> - Red Widgets from company A, B, & C
<green widgets> - The best green widgets to use
etc...

I don't want to do something to my sitemap to spoil it in the engines, as it seems to be working pretty good at the moment.

Dave

8:00 am on July 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Vulcan315:)

It's possibly best to have a description next to the link. This helps your page from looking like a link farm. The page then looks like it contains relevant content as opposed to a bunch of links. Also the page should not contain too many links. Possibly 25 to 50 links per page. And as far as the page setup, it can be a set of sitemap pages each one linking to the next.

And finally, the benefits of setting it up this way is that you'll end of with more pages of content for your site.

This is only advice. I have not setup any sitemap this way.

Well, i hope this helps.

frenzy77

1:05 pm on July 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I wondered about that....on my site now, the sitemap is just a bunch of simple links to all pages on the site. I've started to work on a new sitemap page with a one-liner text description for each page.

My main concern was that google or yahoo would think this was some sort of word stuffing. It sure doesn't look very "human friendly" now.

Dave

1:47 pm on July 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you look at Google's site map, the description is linked to the page. You don't see the actual links.

The way I understand Googles guidelines, it that Google wants the pages made for the user. Make it easy to follow and Google will follow.

jb

4:34 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"Also the page should not contain too many links. Possibly 25 to 50 links per page."

This is the first time I've read that. Would a sitemap with 100 links to site pages simply not get all of the links indexed?

ALso, would I be better off to have the description within the anchor tags, or does it matter to the search engine?

Thanks,
Dave

6:00 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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While it's a good idea to have a sitemap optimized for users to navigate your website, for search engines you're much better off using the
Google Sitemap Protocol
[google.com]

Basically you just place a simple XML file at the root of your site full of your URLs. When you update your pages, you update the sitemap to show the last modification dates. You can also supply hints - and they are hints, not commands - as to when you want each page to be re-crawled.

Google supplies a free python script to make your sitemap. If you have shell access to your web server, and it has python, then you can use google's sitemap tool.

If you don't, a simple text file listing each of your URLs will do, but can't contain the modification dates or update frequencies. Another alternative would be to run the sitemap tool on your own local mirror of your site and then upload the file. Python is available for most operating systems at [python.org...]

I don't have a sitemap yet but expect I will make one sometime soon, as I am now devoted to my site full-time.

6:32 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've got to learn about XML, I guess it'll be one of my upcoming projects, heheheh.. Meanwhile, using the "old-school" html-based sitemap like many people have on their sites, is there really a maximum number of links I can have?

Also, if someone has the time to have a quick look at my sitemap and tell me if you think it looks ok (or if it stinks!), please sticky me. I'll shoot you the URL.

Thanks,
Dave

8:09 pm on July 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've got to learn about XML

I haven't tried Google sitemaps, but I don't think you need to know much about XML to use Google's tool. If you use the tool, it creates the XML for you.

The format of the file is very simple as XML goes. Anyone who has ever hand-edited an HTML file would be able to understand it. There's an explanation of the format at the link I gave, and it's really very simple.

4:58 am on July 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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well i cant remember the url but i found a site that well make a map for you its easyier to use than googles thingy and since using it my google indexing has increased 3 fold, the problem it only does 750 at a time, so i made 2 but it should give google an idea where to begin.
11:42 am on July 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"well i cant remember the url but i found a site that well make a map for you its easyier to use than googles thingy and since using it my google indexing has increased 3 fold, the problem it only does 750 at a time, so i made 2 but it should give google an idea where to begin."

...which leads back to my original question... Is there a rule of thumb of how many links is a maximum number that should be on a single site map page? I've seen some folks say no more that 50, some say there is no limit, and others who have said they had several hundred on their site map. Currently my site map has about 70 internal links on it... Does anyone know if I should I break that up, of leaver it as is?

Thanks,
Dave

8:59 am on July 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been doing a bit of experimentation. I don't know what the limit is, but I've tested up to 100 links on my sitemap, on the same page (with a short text description), and they were all crawled. I don't know what the max number is, but that's my experience thus far...

Just my $.01 worth :-)

Dave

11:54 pm on July 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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newbie here ..

great topic! this is exactly what i came looking for ..

i am redesigning a friends web site.. and was looking for this exact info..

any one have anymore info on this topic.. ie good design flow..

thanks!

6:31 pm on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Is there a rule of thumb of how many links is a maximum number that should be on a single site map page

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines [google.com] suggest keeping links on a page to 100 or less. If you’re looking to please Google I would take a moment and read this information.

A site map was not originally intended to be a road map for a wandering spider or bot. You will also see in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines that they want you to build your pages with your visitors in mind.

Ask yourself if you think a description next to each of the links in your site map would be beneficial. If the answer is yes then put one in - If the answer is no the leave it out.

Personally, I create my site maps thinking that a human might actually use them for navigational purposes. Anchor text links, descriptions, hierarchy… the whole nine-yards. Oddly enough, the search engine spiders seem to like them too ;).