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November 22, 2005

Google Sitemaps Improves

Last week when updating Sitemaps for our Search Engine Marketing Clients, I noticed a major upgrade to the service. Google is giving more advanced reporting tools that allow you to better understand how Google is crawling your site, as well as other insights. In order to be able to view these new advanced statistics, you must first verify that you are the owner of the domain by a two step process which helps to prevent unauthorized access to your site statistics.

Google now allows you to see in depth crawl stats. You can see a distribution of the pages successfully crawled and the errors encountered on each page as well as a distribution of current PageRanks for all pages in your site.

The URL error reports now include 40 different types of errors in 5 categories, which allows you to correct any crawl errors much faster without having to crawl the site yourself to locate problems. If a link is broken or a page is no londer there, you will be notified every time that Google crawls your site. This is a great tool for large websites who have link structures that are complex and constantly changing. You can also better mangage the URLs that are blocked from being crawled as well be notified of URLs that are not being reached when they should be.

Another neat feature is the query stats that are now provided. These stats are shown for your domain whether or not you have submitted a site map to Google. It allows you to see the top Google search queries that return pages to your site as well as the top queries that caused users to click on your site in the search results. This allows you to better write titles and descriptions for pages that are top search queries and are not returning a high click through rate. It is also useful for sites that do not track referral stats by monitoring log files. At this point in time, Google is only showing the top 4 queries and the top 4 search query clicks. However, I feel that Google will show more results in the future as more people start to take advantage of this free feature and they are better able to fine tune the service.

Learn more about Google Sitemaps by visiting: https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/about.html

-Mark Barrera
The MasterLink Group, Inc
Search Engine Marketing Services