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Search Engine Sitemaps

Search engine sitemaps are not for human consumption. Rather, they are specifically designed to facilitate search engines to spider a web site. Especially if a site has added or modified content deep within its navigation, it may take many weeks before a search spider takes note of the changes without any assistance. Likewise, if a web page is referenced nowhere in a web site’s navigational structure, it will not get spidered without any assistance, either.

Search engine sitemaps provide this assistance. Google sitemaps and Yahoo! Sitemaps both have implementations in that vein. MSN search does not offer one at the time of writing. Search engine sitemaps do not replace the traditional spidering of a site, so a site will continue to get spidered normally. But if their systems notice changes via these sitemaps, a spider will visit the included URLs more quickly.

You can see how a traditional sitemap accomplishes some of the same things that a search engine sitemap does. Because the traditional sitemap is linked prominently on the web site, it is frequently spidered. Thus, by linking deep content on a traditional sitemap page, you can accomplish most of the same goals, but it is still advantageous to create a search engine sitemap.

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