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What is a sitemap.xml File?

I believe, that if you have a web site that already has a page rank and is listed in the serp’s, there is a good possibility, that putting a Google sitemap on your site at this point, will have a negative effect on your site. I base this conclusion on personal experiences and I’m relating it to you for your consideration only.

I joined the sitemap program, shortly after it was introduced, with the expectations of improving my page rank and increasing my web site visibility. At the time, I had a medium ranking and I was indexed with a fair listing in the search engine. A week after uploading the sitemap my page rank was zero and my web site had disappeared from the search engine.

Needless to say, I was irate, and tried to rectify my mistake by removing the site map as soon as possible. Too late, the damage had been done. After I had gone through the 5 stages , and finally reached acceptance, I decided to try and find out what had just happened.

The sandbox effect theory Many SEO “experts” believe that new web sites are placed in what’s known as the sandbox. The sandbox is a probationary period used to determine whether the new site has the viability to exist for more than a period of “x” months. Those who believe the sandbox exists observe that it can sometimes take up to a year or longer for a web site to be promoted from the Google sandbox.

The sandbox effect and site maps After extensively reading and researching sitemaps, the only explanation I have for the loss of my page rank and indexing is that I was placed in the sandbox. By submitting a sitemap, I was viewed by Google, as a new web site and placed in the sandbox.

After roughly a year my site is finally beginning to recover. I have regained some of my page rank and I am once again included in search results. But, it’s been a long, frustrating up hill battle and there is absolutely no evidence that the site map has benefited my web site.

Site maps and new web sites If you have a new web site I see no reason why you shouldn’t use a sitemap. You have nothing to lose and it’s probably helpful to a new site. You can read more and create an account at google sitemaps.

According to Google, putting a sitemap on your site will make it easier and quicker for them to find and index your web site. A sitemap is an xml file with the url’s to all your pages. The easiest way to create your sitemap is with sitemapspal.com or gsitecrawler.com. Either of these will crawl your site and create an xml sitemap for you, all you do is upload it to your root directory.

Once you have created your sitemap and uploaded it to your directory, create a Google site map account and submit your sitemap. When you submit your site map, Google will ask that you verify your site, by giving you a small snippet of code. The best way to verify your site is to create an HTML file, with nothing but the code snippet between the body tags, and upload it to your root directory.

Google will download and crawl your site within a couple of hours of submitting your sitemap. So make sure your site uses valid code, is well written (grammar, punctuation, spelling) and contains relevant, informative content before you submit your sitemap. You can read more on how to create a Google friendly web site at webmaster guidelines

A Google site map has no effect on the other search engines.

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