Home – New Forums Tech talk How important are XML site maps?

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  • #979171
    ExecAccess
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    Hi
    We currently do not have XML site maps for either of our sites and I don’t know how important they are. Is not having them holding us back?

    I did ask our web developer some time ago about this and they said they didn’t “do XML site maps”.

    Is this something I can create and get the web developer to upload?

    Thanks in advance.

    #1112510
    Tiggerito
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    It’s not a major issue, or any issue for most websites.

    The xml sitemap is just a way to tell Google that you are confirming certain URLs are correct.

    In most cases Google crawls and finds all the URLs by themselves.

    The sitemap can help Google if you have a structure issue causing duplicate or infinite URLs. Google will then use the sitemap to find out which URL you want them to officially index.

    If you have URLs that are hard to find (say in Javascript) then the sitemap can help Google find them. It is still best to make it possible for Google to find every URL via basic links that it can crawl.

    It can also be useful as Google will tell you how many pages from the sitemap have been indexed. If this is low it can indicate you have an issue somewhere. Quite often that your sitemap is wrong!

    There are tools available that can crawl your website and try and create a sitemap for you. I think Screaming Frog Crawler can do that.

    I’d consider changing developer if their response to core website features is “we don’t do that”. What else don’t they do that may be negatively effecting your website. Or what are they doing that does negatively affect your website and they don’t care.

    #1112511
    Divert To Mobile
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    ExecAccess, post: 125470 wrote:
    Is this something I can create and get the web developer to upload?

    If you create it they should be able to upload it. Personally I’d get someone from around here to take over the hosting and development for you.

    A closer look at your site indicates that you may be stuck with the hosting company if their cms is custom in house.

    Steve

    #1112512
    My Wedding Concierge
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    You can create it easily here:

    http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

    #1112513
    ExecAccess
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    [QUOTE=Tiggerito;125489

    The sitemap can help Google if you have a structure issue causing duplicate or infinite URLs. Google will then use the sitemap to find out which URL you want them to officially index.

    I.

    Thanks Tony.

    It might be useful from that point of view as we do have some duplicate pages due to products appearing in more than one category.

    #1112514
    ExecAccess
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    Divert To Mobile, post: 125492 wrote:
    If you create it they should be able to upload it. Personally I’d get someone from around here to take over the hosting and development for you.

    A closer look at your site indicates that you may be stuck with the hosting company if their cms is custom in house.

    Steve

    Hi Steve

    Spot on! The cms is provided by the web developer and we use it under licence. I am not sure what would happen if we wanted to go somewhere else, we probably would have to build a whole new site.

    #1112515
    ExecAccess
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    My Wedding Concierge, post: 125509 wrote:
    You can create it easily here:

    http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

    Thank you!

    #1112516
    ExecAccess
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    Just checked Google Webmaster and I am thinking it might not be worth bothering – unless the “not selected” are concerning. These are our stats for 22/7

    Executive Accessories:
    Total indexed 2845
    Ever crawled 11556
    Not selected 6408
    Blocked 1126

    Mens Formal (which only launched in May):
    Total indexed 885
    Ever crawled 2692
    Not selected 1960
    Blocked 308

    #1112517
    Tiggerito
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    Not selected are pages Google decided to ignore for some reason (duplicate, redirects).

    Not a major issue but it does indicate that Google has to work quite hard to find pages, then ignore them. Keeping that number low means Google bots can focus on crawling pages that have value.

    #1112518
    MatthewKeath
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    ExecAccess, post: 125517 wrote:
    Thanks Tony.

    It might be useful from that point of view as we do have some duplicate pages due to products appearing in more than one category.That’s strange. Can’t you put a product in more than one category?

    I don’t understand a web development company that doesn’t do sitemaps. It a pretty basic undertaking.

    Having so many pages I think it’s pretty important to have a dynamic site map.

    #1112519
    MatthewKeath
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    ExecAccess, post: 125518 wrote:
    Hi Steve

    Spot on! The cms is provided by the web developer and we use it under licence. I am not sure what would happen if we wanted to go somewhere else, we probably would have to build a whole new site.Yep. Which I only recommend a ecommerce or cms solution that can you can move around if you want to change developer.

    #1112520
    JohnTranter
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    It looks to me that the web design company don’t have exclusive access to that cms system.

    There are other agencies you *could* use, some are suggested on the cms home website
    http://corp.webtemplate.com.au/the-webtemplate-team

    Boylen Media
    Artbox Animation & Design Pty Ltd

    Obviously I have no idea of your contract with Bridgehead but if you do own the site, and not ‘rent’ it, you could possible change without starting from scratch.

    #1112521
    ExecAccess
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    MatthewKeath, post: 125544 wrote:
    That’s strange. Can’t you put a product in more than one category?

    I don’t understand a web development company that doesn’t do sitemaps. It a pretty basic undertaking.

    Having so many pages I think it’s pretty important to have a dynamic site map.

    Hi

    Yes we can – and do – put products in more than one category. But it is the same page that is created and we nominate which other category(ies) it will appear in. This in turn gives it more than one URL which I presume is classed as duplication. I am not sure if this is adversely effecting SEO.

    For example the following URLs are for the same item created as one product page (the first URL below) but also appearing in 2 other locations on the site:

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/leather-goods/hidesign/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/leather-goods/travel-accessories/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/mens-skin-care-grooming/toiletry-bags/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    #1112522
    ExecAccess
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    JohnTranter, post: 125558 wrote:
    It looks to me that the web design company don’t have exclusive access to that cms system.

    There are other agencies you *could* use, some are suggested on the cms home website
    http://corp.webtemplate.com.au/the-webtemplate-team

    Boylen Media
    Artbox Animation & Design Pty Ltd

    Obviously I have no idea of your contract with Bridgehead but if you do own the site, and not ‘rent’ it, you could possible change without starting from scratch.

    Hi John

    Thanks for your reply.

    Not sure about Artbox – but Boylen and Bridgehead have merged recently.

    I am not unhappy with Bridgehead – I believe they have developed 2 great sites most of which we have control over. However as with most business relationships there can be issues from time to time.

    #1112523
    Tiggerito
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    ExecAccess, post: 125588 wrote:
    Hi

    Yes we can – and do – put products in more than one category. But it is the same page that is created and we nominate which other category(ies) it will appear in. This in turn gives it more than one URL which I presume is classed as duplication. I am not sure if this is adversely effecting SEO.

    For example the following URLs are for the same item created as one product page (the first URL below) but also appearing in 2 other locations on the site:

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/leather-goods/hidesign/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/leather-goods/travel-accessories/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    http://www.executiveaccessories.com.au/products/mens-skin-care-grooming/toiletry-bags/hidesign-leather-wash-bag

    You want to avoid this sort of duplication where possible. It dilutes your link graph and makes Googles job harder.

    Instead of Google seeing a bunch of links to a single product page and thus reinforcing the context of that product, it sees few links to a bunch of pages that may be duplicates.

    Ideally, if they are identical they should be the same URL. If you can’t do that then you can help direct the search engines to the official product page via canonical meta tags.

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