Google tweak reveals the hidden mysteries of sitemaps

By Adrian Mursec topicIcon PR, Weekly Wrap

Adrian Mursec - theEword SEO Manchester blogAdrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, writes about the latest change to Google Webmaster tools in the UK.

Google has started to integrate sitemap data from multiple Webmaster accounts.

The feature allows users to view submissions from all account holders on a specific domain by clicking the 'Show submissions: Mine, All' link in the top right hand corner of the page.

Webmaster tools then displays every sitemap submitted to the service by multiple users. Here is an example:

The feature sees a marked distinction from previous incarnations of Google Webmaster tools. Previously, it was not possible to monitor changes made to a site by other individuals.

An announcement on the Google Webmaster blog said:

"The Webmaster Tools design update now shows you all Sitemap files that were submitted for your verified website. This is particularly useful if you have multiple owners verified in Webmaster Tools or if you are submitting some Sitemap files via HTTP ping or through your robots.txt file."

Sitemaps help search engines find pages they may not usually discover when indexing a site. This process allows search algorithms to develop a comprehensive list of links in a domain without having to crawl every page on a regular basis.

There are many different ways to submit a sitemap, including:

  • Directing search engine spiders to the sitemap URL through a robots.txt file
  • Having a sitemap.xml or sitemap.gz file on the root
  • Including an RSS feed in the meta data

It remains to be seen if this change to Google Webmaster tools will have any implications for search engine results rankings.

Keep checking back for more news relating to further Google adjustments.