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Google Sitemaps Questions

Answered by Venessa Fox

With Google?s recent joint venture to collaborate with Yahoo and MSN to create a Sitemap submission protocol standard, there has been a lot of buzz generating lately for Google Sitemaps in the SEO world. This has caused many webmasters and business owners to regain focus on the true implications and question the validity of the Google Sitemaps program. Because of all the noise, Rand Fishkin, SEO expert from interviews and questions Vanessa Fox of Google to help clear some of the smoke.

Some questions that are discussed in this video are: Does a duplicate content filter induce duplicate content penalties? What about format preference? Is an XML sitemap superior or can a simple text file suffice? What is OAI-PMH?

Given some recent dialog on sitemaps versus other SEO methods, Vanessa reiterates the intent of a sitemap: it should be merely one part of the strategy.

Also in the interview, Vanessa clarifies the difference between Google Toolbar's Page Rank and Google Webmaster Tools. Vanessa states, "Webmaster Tools- is a little more accurate and a little more up-to-date. The Toolbar page ranking does not get updated quite as often, of course it's only one factor. I feel like people get really hung-up on the Toolbar Page Rank. People probably spend a little more energy on it than they need to."

I think this interview was a good decision for Google and the rest of the SEO community. I agree with Vanessa and believe that submitting a Google Sitemap for your website is highly recommended. Is it the cure all? No, but is it an important piece to the SEO puzzle? Yes, most definitely. I?ve seen the positive results with my own eyes. I submit Sitemaps for each one of client and have noticed their content getting indexed in days, rather than months. Our business will continue to setup and submit Google Sitemaps for our clients, now following the new XML protocol standard.

You can watch the interview on

Google Yahoo! and MSN Unite

To Support Common Sitemap Protocol

There is some great news in the SEO world that will change the way webmaster process and submit Sitemaps to Google, Yahoo! and soon others.

Last night, November 15, 2006 at 9:00 pm, Google and Yahoo! announced that they have united to support a unified system of submitting Web pages to their crawlers. While Google launched their Google Sitemaps protocol in June 2005 and Yahoo! recently with their Yahoo! Site Explorer, they both offered different protocols for submitting Sitemap files in the past. But because of this new supported Sitemap Protocol 0.9 Standard, this move marks the day when the 'big two' have agreed that they will all now support the Google XML protocol method via the new destination.

Not only are Google and Yahoo! collaborating on this project, they've also issued an open invitation to all the other search engines willing to join. Microsoft accepted that invitation and will jointly support and its efforts.

Sitemap Protocol 0.9 is offered under the terms of the Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License and has wide adoption, including support from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.

Google Stated, "Last year we published the Sitemap 0.84 XML protocol as a free and easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about URLs on their web sites so that search engines can more effectively crawl them. We released it under the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons license in the hopes that other search engines would adopt the protocol too. And today, we're excited to announce that Yahoo! and Microsoft are joining us in officially supporting the Sitemap protocol."

What does this mean for webmasters?

Well first, this means that webmasters must work to adapt and implement this new Sitemaps Protocol 0.9 Standard. They must follow and abide by the unified protocol, as defined at and learn to accept this new standard of processing and submitting Sitemaps to Google and Yahoo! and soon MSN.

Because of this supported effort and open initiation, this means that other search engines, especially MSN, will most likely develop some type of Sitemap submission service that abides by the Sitemaps Protocol 0.9 Standard.

This is great news for the search industry and means that all search engines will be able to support and accept the same Sitemap Protocol, making it easier for webmasters to abide by one standard to manage their sitemap submissions in the future.

For more information and to watch an interview with Google and Yahoo! on the announcement, click to watch the Exclusive Video: Google and Yahoo! Launch .