Warning: Do Not Use Google Sitemaps!!

40 comments

If you haven't seen this yet .. google groups

basically one guy blames Sitemaps for the end of the world ..

I was getting 5000+ hits per month from Google, which comprised about
40% of my traffic.

Three weeks ago, after reading through Google's webmaster guidelines, I
decided I would create a sitemap (as they suggested).

Since this time, I have seen 11 hits from Google. The keywords that I
mentioned earlier, which I had first or second page AT WORST placement
on? I do not show up in the first 25 pages (I gave up looking after
that point).

Then goes on to say

There are no other explanations other than the Google Sitemap that I
created has caused this problem. Therefore, I urge all of you: if you
value your Google traffic, do not create a Google sitemap. It will do
more harm (read: 5000 hits per month down to ~25 hits per month) than
good.

Methinks the comunity overthere will help him out .. yer ;)

read over a break and a coffee
DaveN

Comments

oops ..

Added .. I still like sitemaps and still use them :)

DaveN

A bit confusion about Google sitemap..

Hi

I am also facing some confusion while using google sitemap. I have a site, which is started 1 year before. I created goole sitemap for my site after 1 month from launching of my site, but till i did't get much traffic as i expected...

Can any one check my site and specify any suggestions to improve my traffic..

With Regards,
Ben Kevin

sitemaps sitemaps sitemaps

well i had no end of problems with the google site map. I also tried other resources from their site to create a sitemap, when i had one working i submitted it to google and it was rejected due to errors.....

to make matters worse i decided to spend more time in getting one that would work, after much time and pain i got one to work on google, only for it to show up with errors a week later!!!

so in the end i gave up... and created a site map of my own with a nice look at feel. Google still did not like it..... what can you do....

bottom line is that Google wants you to use their software and once they have hooked us all into it (when it works) then i am sure they will start charging ....

well i am a lil pissed at them but thats business i guess....

Dave, aren't your 2 comments

Dave, aren't your 2 comments contrary to each other ? :D

>contrary

nah, the rules of forum linkbait say [1]make extreme statement in headline and [2]take it back in second post

Very very true - If only I

Very very true - If only I went to class 1 :)

Simply mind boggling

Hullo... noob that found my way here through 4 Steps of Separation from a Vanity Search... very weird...more later...

They said "There are no other explanations" --- There U have it no?

Considering the thoroughness of the research involved, I am guessing he has a really purdy Link Profile... just off hand.

Besides, isn't G responsible for every internet business failure by default anyways?

Some detective work

Man..couldn’t resist diggin deeper in this ‘poor soul’

I think I have figured it out. The poster is a mystery man working as an industrial spy for MSN….

“my MSN and Yahoo traffic has doubled since I have disappeared from Google”
or

“didn't seem to inhibit my placement on MSN and Yahoo”

When they look for more details;

“I am not posting my URL because”

-- See? No URL to cross check data or potential REAL problems.-----

When asked to post a URL retorted with

“People will either take my advice, or they won't. It's that simple.”
“I came here to post a warning to others, which is exactly what I have done”
and “Thus, my advice to anyone reading who has not yet added a sitemap”

Hmmmm No URL, and they seem to be lauding MSN (and Yahoo) …

I’ve got it! It has to be MSNDUDE … ha ha ha ha…

Ok, maybe not…..

He may be a little PARANOID though…

“But, as I have said before, I'm planning to keep my URL quiet for the
time being just in case Google decides they don't like me criticizing
their little sitemaps project. I noticed the Googlebot spider going
through my site earlier today.”

Maybe ‘scarydude’ would be better, not ‘msdndude’ – Yikes.

>rules of forum linkbait

>rules of forum linkbait say

heehehehhe

Even if...

...DaveN still likes G sitemaps, I have never used them and probably never will.

Call me a notorious tinfoilhat if you will (but I won't hear you cuz my hat is covering my ears ever so nicely)

"There are no other

"There are no other explanations other than"

Ah. This type of logical fallacy is known as ad hoc reasoning:

"I washed my car on Thursday, and then it rained. Therefore, washing my car caused it to rain."

Logical fallacies are fun.

"...never used them..."

Ditto.

I don't like all these specially formated sitemaps which are specific to each engine. I mean one good thing about a standard HTML sitemap is that it is non-denominational and can be crawled by all the engines.

No Sitemaps

WIth 40K dynamically moving pages, sitemaps are just impratical for me, especially with some data impacting multiple data sets (say LOTS of pages) it's a logistical nightmare to say the least.

Google seems to do just fine the way it's always worked IMO so there was no need to implement sitemaps for my site at this time.

Why fix it if it ain't broke?

It's natural to blame

It's natural to blame someone else for your own failures, that is if you lack a set of ballz.

rule 3

Quote:
nah, the rules of forum linkbait say [1]make extreme statement in headline and [2]take it back in second post

What about Rule 3?

3. Post via an alias, so as not to harm the credibility of your brand.

Oops.

Logical fallacies are

Logical fallacies are fun.

True, but this has to be about the 4th or 5th similar post I've seen in the last 2-3 months. A tiny percentage to be sure, but at what point is it not coincidence that some sites freefall or disappear as soon as they use Sitemaps?

Just as fun as logical fallacies is everyone's inclination to assume the complainer is a moron, is doing something else wrong/underhanded, is an employee of MSN (hee-hee), or whatever else.

Google seems to do just fine the way it's always worked IMO so there was no need to implement sitemaps for my site at this time.

Ditto....

More on Logical Fallacies

Quote:
but at what point is it not coincidence that some sites freefall or disappear as soon as they use Sitemaps?

Logically, when it happens to all, or all but one - and NOT being dropped is the anomale.

pleeker, I'm sure I could

pleeker, I'm sure I could point you to just as many "Buying adwords hurt my ranking" or "Buying adwords boosted my ranking" theories too. It's inevitable that with billions o' pages, some sites will do really well or badly right after they enroll in AdWords, AdSense, Sitemaps, or something else.

Just to be clear on my position: in my opinion, enrolling in Sitemaps should never negatively affect you in the index/scoring.

but at what point...

Quote:
but at what point is it not coincidence that some sites freefall or disappear as soon as they use Sitemaps?

Every day n-sites fall from the SERPs. Every day n-sites add GSM. Every day n-sites do both.

Quick Fix

Google should just quietly change the wording of the site: command to "pages we know about" instead of "in the index". Then in the algo when someone does a site: for a domain it just returns the total number of pages shown in their sitemap if they have one, if not just return the normal calculated value. Viola problem solved. Then someone who has 10 pages indexed out of 1000 can submit a sitemap and in a few days see the results 1-10 of about 1000. They won't be able to scroll through the results (which is no different than it is now) but they'll get that warm fuzzy feeling all over that google knows about their pages, and spend some time working on the site rather than complain about sitemaps, the solar winds, Republicans, or whatever ruined their site.

more fun with logical fallacies ...

The anchor text *and* the url contain the word WIDGETS *and* there are lots of them on lots of domains, therefore the target page must be extremely relevant for WIDGETS

What if they are spammers?

Matt said:

Quote:
Just to be clear on my position: in my opinion, enrolling in Sitemaps should never negatively affect you in the index/scoring.

Matt, what if the site in question is in some way using deceptive SEO techniques. Could enrolling in sitemaps put their site under extra scrutiny and bring the "spamming" to the forefront and ultimately cause their rankings and/or indexing to drop?

google sitemap==seo

There is a thread circulating elsewhere that postulates that anything smelling of seo is subject to varying degrees of penalisation.

The reasoning can then become, only those researching ways to push their way to better positions would even bother to find out about google sitemaps. Therefore, the usage of a google sitemap would be a sign of active seo. Black or white is irrelevant.

Not sure how sitemaps tells

Not sure how sitemaps tells Google anything they dont already know, other than, "hey, you didnt index these pages".

How Sitemaps Helps You and Google

Sitemaps does potentially tell Google the date a file was last modified. Thus, once Google downloads your current sitemap, they can better prioritize which pages to crawl. That can be mutually advantageous. This is also a priority field, but I haven't mucked about with it. Any readers have feedback on priority?

As for the observation of the need to prepare search engine specific site maps, this is an issue which needs to be addressed by the big three/four. Google was certainly the innovator in this area; Yahoo decided rightly or wrongly to accept RSS feeds rather than follow Google's lead. I'm sure there was lots of internal discussion on that one.

Since Google made their sitemaps_gen.py generation script open source, I hacked it to add RSS 2.0 support. And I do mean hacked, I don't really know Python but where there's a will.... There are many issues I did not yet address, so read the notes and test before you deploy.

I really need to relaunch

I really need to relaunch the widgetsitemaps.com domain don't I.

It did the G sitemaps, RSS (0.94 and 2) along with good old fashioned html as well as covering the point that was awkward for a lot of people to give an honest answer to, the change frequency.

O well. In time I suppose :)

Agree with the rumor...

Quote:
The reasoning can then become, only those researching ways to push their way to better positions would even bother to find out about google sitemaps. Therefore, the usage of a google sitemap would be a sign of active seo. Black or white is irrelevant.

That's been exactly my feeling about it since the start and why I would never put my client's sites into it.

Bottom line is that your pages should be crawler-friendly to begin with, leaving ZERO need for that sort of sitemap.

sitemaps

Recommend you place a sitemap link high on your front page to get excellent results in MSN and Yahoo...(break)

Recommend you do not send the sitemap to Google as they are in the personal information collection business and I like my tin hat lifestyle just fine...(break)

Recommend you do a "John Andrews" and point a PR5 link at any page you want Google to index...(break)

Recommend you park your car in the garage after washing because it will definitely rain! (break)

end of transmission...

Remove Tin Foil Hats

You can analyze a site all you want, but there is nothing, nothing that is as good as seeing the diagnostic info that Google provides through sitemaps. As an engineer, I definitely what to see all available output from the system I'm trying to understand (Google). I don't usually submit a sitemap because, as Jill said, it's stupid to have a site that isn't spiderable. But the webmaster control panel is very useful.

I've put more than 20 sites into the program, and seen no negative effect on rankings whatsoever. On the contrary, sometimes Google Sitemaps tells us about a problem, we fix it, and the rankings improve.

Some of my sites were previously subjected to black-hat or stupid-hat seo. Putting these sites into sitemaps (during cleanup and prior to reinclusion) has not hurt my other sites in any way. My experience is that Google plays it straight, and these conspiracy theories are unfounded.

Most Valuable Data I get from Sitemaps

>leaving ZERO need for that sort of sitemap.

Jill, I gotta disagree with you on this one. You should absolutely be building spiderable sites no doubt about it. But if you ever had to "fix" someone else's site adding it to sitemaps can quite often show you pages that went MIA or AWOL over the years. You can also pick up people who link to you with funny characters and redirect accordingly in htaccess.

I will defer to graywolf

Quote:
But if you ever had to "fix" someone else's site adding it to sitemaps can quite often show you pages that went MIA or AWOL over the years. You can also pick up people who link to you with funny characters and redirect accordingly in htaccess.

Since I've never actually done a Google sitemap, I'll defer to you on that GW. I've just not had the need for it, but it's good to know that there is valuable info in there.

GOOG Sitemaps Alpha *did* take down my server...

Hey, GOOG's first alpha of sitemaps did take down my server... That's what I get for trusting a huge corp with standard design testing. i expect more from GOOG than MSFT, so it's not totally their fault. The original headline: http://www.incendiary.ws/node/94

Extra information

When you optimize your site perfectly, you don't need Google Sitemaps. It's just the other functionalities that I love!

I agree with Graywolf

When fixing someone's damaged reputation, sitemaps is a shortcut back into Google. Maybe just because of the trust factor, but maybe more than that. I totally agree with Jill after that and for clean sites... I see no reason to enter G sitemaps if you have things set up correctly.

Now once recovered, how do you get out of sitemaps and is it wise to do so? Stated differently, is there G sitemaps optimization? And if so, can riding the fringe of suboptimal within the sitemaps program(1) be worse than having taken Jill's organic approach? Interesting question IMHO. I have two cases testing that right now.

(1) failing to re-submit well beyond sitemap expiration date, changing pages out of concert with the sitemap declarations, adding spiderable pages without updating the sitemap, leaving low-performance pages at a high priority, etc etc etc.

Awesome John,

Definitely let us know how it goes!

Missing File Data

I discovered by accident if you have a file listed in the sitemaps file without having a link on the site it will try to find it. When it doesn't it will show in the 'missing files' section of the report.

If you add new pages without putting them on the sitemap file Google will find them if the links are in the "right places". It also keeps pulling the sitemap periodically if you haven't updated or "pinged" them with an update recently.

Could enrolling in sitemaps

Could enrolling in sitemaps put their site under extra scrutiny and bring the "spamming" to the forefront and ultimately cause their rankings and/or indexing to drop?

Not in my experience, Jill.

idea

well you know what would be cool from sitemaps, give people who are enrolled the ability to cloak ... er ... IP deliver the same way the NY Times does.

Erm...

Quote:
Not in my experience, Jill

You mean that that didn't happen in your case?

Not in my experience,

Quote:
Not in my experience, Jill.

Good to know, thanks Matt.

Makes me wonder even more about all those people who post in the forums and say their pages disappeared after they started in with sitemaps.

Just coincidence and bad timing, no doubt! (I figured they were spamming and used sitemaps as a last resort to try to do better, but it put them under scrutiny and the spam was uncovered and they were completely banned.)

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