I was tooling around with some website toys and they wanted to be pointed to my sitemaps. I have other blogs aside from this blog. My other properties are quick-post kind of blogs that I run over under Google’s Blogger platform. (Even if they don’t look like the classic appearance of such, because I’ve customized their look and performance.) For the most part, they’re my fun blogs while this is my central blog. When I started looking into sitemaps, I was surprised to find out what exactly constitutes my Blogger sitemap!
Turns out that Google uses the last 25 entries in your ATOM RSS feed as your sitemap. That’s it!
At first I became quite concerned, but then I realized that even though my sitemap only has my last 25 posts, I still have much much older posts that get some good solid web traffic. What’s that about???
Are Sitemaps Important?
Many SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts say that sitemaps are important. Yet then there are those that say that if you use good on-page SEO tactics, sitemaps are not that critical. The supporting premise is that Google’s search algorithms are good enough to find webpages that aren’t under your sitemap auspices. Like I said, I do have old posts that hold up my web traffic that are not only in my last 25 entries, but not even published in this year. So some SEO practices do work, even without sitemaps.
With this new information about my Blogger sitemaps, I started looking into how to discover about my sitemaps and have point to them and what not. So here’s a quick rundown of the things I learned on this quick journey.
How to find your Blogger Sitemap:
<Your Blogger site web path>/robots.txt
If you have substituted a custom domain for your blogger website path, but that in your <webpath>.
Your Blogger robots.txt file will look like this:
Sitemap: <your path>/feeds/posts/default?
Make a Custom Sitemap for your Blogger Site:
Change your Sitemap line(s) to look like this:
Sitemap: <your Blogger url>/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
Sitemap: <your Blogger url>/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=500
Sitemap: <your Blogger url>/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1001&max-results=500
Sitemap: <your Blogger url>/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1501&max-results=5
Explanation of above set of lines:
One recommendation is that keeping each entry to 500 posts per sitemap is reportedly better for indexing. But Google contests that aspect, saying a sitemap can have up to 50k posts referenced. My own WordPress-based website sitemap is one big honking file. But if you stick to the 500 entries per line premise, you can see that the site this example comes from had 1506 posts at the time.
But since I found that Google supports a large number of entries for a sitemap, I’m resetting mine.
This is like what the optimal amount of water you’re supposed to drink is. It seems that each year there’s a new opinion on the matter. Now it seems that there’s an interesting divide on sitemaps. Here’s what I think: Considering how old posts of mine have done over on Blogger, sitemaps of your entire history of posts may not be critical. Good on-page SEO helps your site’s status.
But, sitemaps can’t hurt.
Google says this about sitemaps:
Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:
- Your site has dynamic content.
- Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
- Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
- Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.
-> Here are my resources for this information:
Sitemaps for Blogger.
Google on Sitemaps.
*Google on Creating Sitemaps. (No mention on the 500 line limit)
Google uses/recommends this protocol as noted from http://www.sitemaps.org/
= = = = =