Google Sitemaps is an experiment in web crawling. Using Sitemaps to inform and direct our crawlers, we hope to expand our coverage of the web and improve the time to inclusion in our index.
Basically, Google is asking web sites to supply their spiders with an xml guide to their site. The xml file is a feed format, like an RSS feed, and is easier and faster for the Googlebot to ingest. The file also gives you another opportunity to instruct Google what to crawl and when to come back. Google will continue to crawl as usual, but is hoping that this protocol will help webmasters ensure that important and/or comprehensive links on their sites are indexed. Google offers a free sitemap generator to help in this process.
- This program was unveiled just yesterday, but there is already a lot of reviews and related documentation:
- Overview of Google Sitemaps by Danny Sullivan at the Search Engine Watch Blog
- Google Sitemaps for WordPress is some PHP code written up by Michael Nguyen of socialpatterns.com
- Breaking Down Google Sitemaps XML is a nice line-by-line breakdown of what exactly is in a Google Sitemap file.