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Sitemaps Renamed -- now it's Google Webmaster Central

     
4:47 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In a key piece of "rebranding" Google has renamed their Sitemaps program. It's now Google Webmaster Tools at Google Webmaster Central.

Just go to the old uri and see the change:

[google.com...]

or go to:

[google.com...]

5:01 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What I like in all the latest developements is to see Google paying more attention to webmasters concerns and need. The name "Google Webmaster Tools" speaks for itself.

It also signal very modern approach from Google's side to communicate with webmasters.

Welcome to Google's New Era!

5:04 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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See the new button.......

Preferred domain [?]

If www.mysite.com and mysite.com point to the same site, you can tell us here how you want URLs to display in our index.

Display URLs as www.mysite.com (for both www.mysite.com and mysite.com)

Display URLs as mysite.com (for both www.mysite.com and mysite.com)

Don't set an association.

Note: Once you specify your preference here, it may take some time for changes to be reflected in our index. While Google doesn't guarantee that we'll show your URLs in the form that you prefer, we will use your choice as a suggestion to improve our indexing.

5:23 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, it looks much better than before.

When I set my preferred domain I noticed an option in the subnav for "Crawl Rate" that wasn't in the subnav on other pages. Going there resulted in a 404, but it looks like something they're working on. The odd part is that they ignore the "Crawl-Delay" setting in my robots.txt file.

6:18 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The Domain Preference seems like a great idea, but it still have quite a few kinks in it that they need to work out.. My sites never have had the www/non-www issue so I think I'll pass on this feature until they work on it a little more.
6:25 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What kind of kinks did you see?
6:43 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wow ... never saw the "Crawl Rate" link before... too bad it goes to a bad page.

404
The requested URL /webmasters/sitemaps/crawlrate was not found on this server.

7:10 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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As I mentioned in [webmasterworld.com...] this morning, immediataly after setting my preferences to the www-option, the sitemaps start-page now shows two websites for me, one with and one without www. But I have only one website.

I also added

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^mydomain.de [nc]
RewriteRule (.*) [mydomain.de...] [R=301,L]

to my root-htaccess-file a few months ago. I hope to make clear that I wish thee www-version to be the default one, but I have some fears to run into this canonical issue. It would be helpful if one of the googlers could point us to what exactly this feature is aiming at and what is expected from webmasters.

I can't think of any reason why a webmaster would define two different sitemaps for the www and non-www-version, as the sitemaps account would suggest, but correct me if you know any.

Glad to see this topic on the front page of ww.

9:20 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Having met the Sitemaps, ahem…I mean Webmaster Central team at SES Seattle I have to say I am impressed. During SES Seattle they were as interested in getting feedback from website administrators as they were in demonstrating the features of what was then Sitemaps. It is pleasurable to see the outcomes from these conversations and from their hard work. Congratulations Webmaster Central team. Keep up the terrific work.
9:24 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Oliver, a new feature in the webmaster console lets you specify if you want the www or non-www version of a site to be preferred by Google. In order to use it, you need to prove that you control both versions (www and non-www); that's all.

Informally, I think of this as the "Dayo_UK" feature, and I'm really excited that we're providing this option. Bear in mind that you're indicating a preference, so it's not a 100% guarantee, plus it can take a few weeks for the preference to go fully into effect.

But this should help a lot of webmasters who have wanted to indicate which version (www or non-www) to use.

9:31 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One thing I noticed, for one of the websites that I manage, is that the page indicated by the console as having the highest PageRank during the last three months has had a visible PR two points lower than the home page throughout the same period.

GoogleGuy, can you please give us a rundown on the most recent visible PR updates and perhaps request an across the board update so we can verify what is being shown in the Webmaster Central console? Thank you.

[edited by: SEOcritique at 9:38 pm (utc) on Aug. 5, 2006]

9:43 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Nice tools. Suggestion: I'd love to see checkboxes for e-mail notification of...

- Deep crawl complete
- PageRank update complete
- XX days have gone by since you last submitted a sitemap

9:58 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good evening Folks

I read that there is a new feature on Sitemaps called "Crawl Rate". That feature is suposed to be under (+Tools).

I don't see that feature. Any of you can confirm seeing the said feature now. Thanks.

10:35 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Its been removed, at least in mine. It was a dead link anyway.
10:49 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They should also let you add additional domain names you have pointing to that domain name but the perferred domain is great. Assuming it works.
11:48 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Display URLs from 2004

Display URLs from 2005

Display URLS from 2006

The www thing is great if they obey it, but wouldn't it be just peachy if you could tell them to use URLs that ACTUALLY EXIST and not rank pages that haven't existed or have been inaccessible since December 2004.

How about:

Display only URLs that exist

Display URLs that haven't existed for 18 months

11:54 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's a good start. But I wish there were still some easy method for US to communicate with Google, other than the newsgroups, which are kind of a pain to wade through when you have a specific issue.

For example, I try to prune out dead urls pretty regularly, and I was trying to remove an url tonight using the normal url removal tool as I always do, but it kept telling me that it still existed on the website. Well it doesn't exist on the website; it returns a 404 - I host the website and the page no longer exists, and when I click on the link in Google, it takes me to the 404. But the tool still thinks it's live for some reason.

It'd be great to have some place to report stuff like this; I'd think that Webmaster Central would be the perfect sort of place. But there's no easy way to do this.

Also, I sure wish they'd give an option to put all the sites on one page, instead of having to scroll through pages. I have 61 sites in Sitemaps right now, and it'd be a lot easier if I could just have them on one page when I want to quickly find the site I need to check.

But overall, it's good to see updates.

11:57 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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steveb, I think the supplemental results folks have been working hard on this. The estimate I heard was that by the end of the month (or sooner), any pre-2006 pages would be dropped. The supplemental results have been getting steadily fresher, but they still had some older docs. I believe the plan is to drop those older docs now, and replace them with pages crawled in the last 2-3 months.
11:59 pm on Aug 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I only started using GWC as a result of the July 27th incident so that I could upload my sitemap, but I'm really liking how this tool is evolving. I particularly like the "URLs not followed" option. I have found this very useful at finding bad redirect problems. The "not found" option isn't as useful as I track all 404s from a special 404 log, which gives me real time results.

One concern I have about site maps particularly is if Google places any weight on the order of listings in a site map. The reason is that with really big site maps it is much easier to sort the site map alphabetically to see what is what. If Google places an importance on the order of pages in a sitemap, this is really important to know.

One additional thing I'd like to see with sitemaps is the ability to tell Google to not list/ignore any page that is not on the site map.

[edited by: KenB at 12:00 am (utc) on Aug. 6, 2006]

12:04 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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gcc_llc, I believe we showed that crawlrate option to a small percentage of sitemaps as a test. Let's see, here's a picture and mention: [bigmouthmedia.com...]

It may still emerge in wider circulation, depending on how people like it.

netmeg, I like your suggestion to roll the url removal tool into one place with GWC. I'll pass that on.

[edited by: GoogleGuy at 12:05 am (utc) on Aug. 6, 2006]

12:22 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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" steveb, I think the supplemental results folks have been working hard on this. The estimate I heard was that by the end of the month (or sooner), any pre-2006 pages would be dropped. The supplemental results have been getting steadily fresher, but they still had some older docs. I believe the plan is to drop those older docs now, and replace them with pages crawled in the last 2-3 months. "

This is EXACTLY the type of communication I believe many of us wanted. Thanks GG.

12:41 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Another great step in the right direction.

One improvement [ unless i missed it ] - how about putting the number of indexable pages entered into sitemaps for each URL.

1:08 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'll send the plex some flowers if by the end of August they don't show supplemental results before 2006. That would be very nice.

Next up, the new broken site: command that shows pages from some other domain, and supplemental pages too boot. It's not bad enough that Google forces supplementals on me for pages that don't exist but now is ever so not-sweetly forcing some other domains supplementals on me too!

2:34 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I see the:

+ Tools

Link, but it seems to be deactivated altogether, no url shows in the status bar. No drop down.

Is it broken already?

Or perennial beta?

2:49 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Wonderful, I am looking forward to those old pages gone from the index.
2:51 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I installed G Sitemaps for one of our clients in June, when almost all the second level pages disappeared from Google entirely, leaving only the index and third level pages - despite being a 6 year old site containing no advertising or blackhat techniques.

Installing Sitemaps worked its magic and the second level pages were re-indexed within days and all seemed to be peachy.

Last September I noticed a problem with both www and non-www results appearing in Google, so fearing a dupe penalty, I added 301 redirection code to .htaccess, which has been working as expected. This caused all the non-www dupes to end up as Supplementals, which I hope will soon be deleted (as per message #3035710 from GoogleGuy above).

However, my current concern is this:

From June till last week, the "Statistics" tab >> Crawl stats reported a table with "Your page with the highest PageRank". It had entries for June, July and August. However, ever since I indicated a preference for www over non-www, and Sitemaps installed the non-www as a separate site to "manage", the table indicating highest Pagerank has disappeared from the www Stats and is now showing in the non-www instead - with identical data to what was previously in the www's stats.

How can this be, as all non-www requests have been auto-redirected to www since September 2005 and all the non-www pages are Supplemental and have been for a long time?

KenB wrote:
One additional thing I'd like to see with sitemaps is the ability to tell Google to not list/ignore any page that is not on the site map.

I'd like to second this request - it'd help solve a lot of problems.

[edited by: Mokita at 3:10 am (utc) on Aug. 6, 2006]

3:00 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"One additional thing I'd like to see with sitemaps is the ability to tell Google to not list/ignore any page that is not on the site map."

I third that.

4:31 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The supplemental results have been getting steadily fresher, but they still had some older docs. I believe the plan is to drop those older docs now, and replace them with pages crawled in the last 2-3 months

Well done GG. Great info. Should we be expecting any "anomalies" in the SERPs due to this?

6:18 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure I would applaud GG for the fact that google will now show 1/06 results instead of 12/04 for pages that were updated this week. Seems like you are all excited because google will only show data that is 8 months old.

This is the computer age, anything less than real time is worthless. It's sad that yahoo is more up to date than they are, but hey they "renamed our sitemaps thingy!"

Get search right, then deal with the rest of the junk.

Dayo_UK

9:00 am on Aug 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>>Informally, I think of this as the "Dayo_UK" feature, and I'm really excited that we're providing this option.

:)

I am with Steveb - I will send flowers to Google (actually I wont - but will praise Google) when we see sites that got ranking issues due to the split start to improve.

Encouraging though.

This 167 message thread spans 6 pages: 167