Google Sitemaps

This morning, I used google sitemaps for the first time. Now, I’d heard of google sitemaps before, and I thought I knew what it was about—getting extra links to appear when your site appears in the search results.

Wrong!

That’s one part of it, but I had completely missed the more interesting bit: you can get to see inside Google for information about your site! When you sign up to sitemaps, Google tells you:

  • What searches lead to your site (and what position in the results). Although I have no idea why I’m #29 for “debug_client” (apparently).
  • What searches people clicked on to get to your site.
  • Errors that googlebot found whilst crawling your site.
  • Page analysis (I didn’t realise I was still serving lots of stuff as us-ascii instead of UTF-8 for example).
  • “and more…”

It’s incredibly easy to get going as well. Just login using your google account, add your sites URL in, and then touch the filename that they tell you in order to verify you control the site. It’s about a minutes work (ok, I already have a google account, so I didn’t have to register).

If you haven’t already done so, go and do this now. It’ll give you a much better understanding of your site.

Next up: Getting typo to generate a sitemaps file. I’ve started so I’ll finish!