Even with the above, sometimes folks still ask about Google sitemaps, particularly after hearing from somebody trying to impress them or sell them their search services. (It sounds impressive, "You don't have a Google sitemap!!!! Ohh, no wonder you need our services ...") It makes the person saying it seem smart, when either they do not really understand sitemaps, or they do not understand your site, or they know all this and are just throwing around FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt -- a common sales tactic). The details in this section should make it clear that externally generated sitemaps are an all-around bad idea for HotDoodle sites.
Before you consider Google sitemaps, you need to ask some basic questions:
- Is there any part of your site that would be missed by Google without the sitemap?
- Are you planning to hand-edit the Google generated XML sitemap?
- Is there any part of your site that will be skipped by Google because of the sitemap?
The answers almost always are are
- “No, Google will index my entire site without a Google sitemap”,
- "No, I was not going to hand edit the generaled XML sitemap", and
- “Yes, having a sitemap will cause Google to skip over parts of my site”.
Lets explore these answers.
Q1: Is there any part of your site that would be missed by Google without the sitemap?
When Google indexes a site (or when it builds a sitemap) it reads the home page of the site, records the links, reads all of those pages recording the links, etc. So a Google search or a Google sitemap generation finds all that is accessible via normal site links. All of a HotDoodle site is available by such means.
In Google's own words as the first sentence on their sitemap page, "Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover", but they are not needed on HotDoodle sites because each site has an automatic sitemap that ensures that there are no pages that Google and other search engines will not discover.
Moral: A sitemap built by Google and stored is absolutely no better than what Google would build on the fly without it.
What might be missed in a non-HotDoodle site are those part of a site that pop up only in response to forms such as “Search for Product”, but HotDoodle sites have no such content that is not discoverable by the automatic sitemap. Also, in a very complex site (think amazon.com) some parts like a product page might be significant to be found in searches while other parts such as customer reviews might be better off skipped so that they do not accidentally come up in search results in preference to the product page. Google has no brains in which to make such decisions, but such decisions can be encoded into a Google site map – if you edit it after Google generates it.
Moral:A stored Google built sitemap is absolutely no better than what Google would build on the fly without it, but a human edited sitemap might be better if the sites has parts that cannot be found by link walking – which is not true of HotDoodle sites.
Q2: Are you planning to hand-edit the Google generated XML sitemap?
Following the moral above that the sitemap on the fly is the same as the one Google would generate for you there is no reason to have a static site map unless you plan to edit it to help guide Google through your tens of thousands of pages. Hmmm..., not planning to learn XML editing so you can adjust the sitemap by hand, or you do not have thousands of pages? Then you do not need to store a site map because a stored Google built sitemap is absolutely no better than what Google would build on the fly without it.
Q3: Is there any part of your site that will be skipped by Google because of the sitemap?
Suppose you generated and stored a Google site map last month and today you add a new page “Trade Show”. Guess what – the new page is not going to be included in Google searches because it is not in that stale out of date sitemap. Because of the static sitemap, content added in new places will be skipped. If you had not stored the sitemap Google would have built one on the fly, which is just as good as a stored one, except that the on the fly map includes the new content areas.
You were planning to regenerate the site map every time you changed your site's content, weren't you? If you did you, much better off than having a stale sitemap, but it would be just the same as having no sitemap and letting one be built every time it was needed. With no stored sitemap Google generates one on the fly and finds the new stuff.
Moral: A Google built sitemap is absolutely no better than what Google would build on the fly without it, but reflects a past point in time and misses any new content added since, where as the map Google builds on the fly finds the new content.
Net: All a sitemap will do is duplicate what Google would do on the fly except that it will cause Google to miss new site content.