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Dec 27th, 2012, 01:37 PM
sitemap.xml : manual file creation best practices
I have a site that requires I manually create a new sitemap (weekly) as content changes. This is not a problem.
What I'm concerned about is how i'm maintaining the files on the site once submitted. I have searched for a while and don't see a best practices on the subject.
What i'm doing now is simply dating the xml file and storing it at the root of my site (www.mydomain.com/122712.xml for example).
then, i submit this to google, and after a few days it is completely indexed. perfect.
my question is whether this is a good idea--to constantly re-submit new index file names--or should i simply keep resubmitting a file like sitemap.xml, writing over the older one.
if it seems like a good idea to continue on with how i've been doing it--with unique names--how often should i be deleting the old maps? immediately after submitting the new one? as soon as the new one is completely indexed?
if new file names is a bad idea, then must i re-submit the new sitemap.xml file to google to get it to recrawl the changed content? or will it do so on its own.
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:22 PM
Just keep resubmitting the sitemap.xml file, rather than recreating a new file for each date you update it.
Also, FYI: You can use PHP to create an XML sitemap of all the files on your server. You can specify files that should be left out and not to include files with certain extensions - for example images with .jpg or .gif.
This would save you the hassle of redoing it each time. You can also use crawling programs to create your sitemap.xml file and schedule them to auto scan and FTP upload so you don't have to do it manually.
Another note on XML Sitemaps, I just include the URL, I don't add any change frequency or priority.
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:29 PM
thanks for the quick reply and info.
unfortunately, the custom work we did with an off-the-shelf retail package broke the 'auto sitemap' function. i've not found a good way to manually crawl the site to create the functional sitemap. good news is i have the routine down to 15 minutes, once a week. i did contact a programmer who can manage it automatically for me, but estimates it's a 6 hour job. with ROI at 6 months, i'm willing to tread water for a while until the site can pay for the work itself.
Dec 27th, 2012, 02:48 PM
A follow up note I meant to include, you don't actually need to keep resubmitting the sitemap.xml, it will be periodically crawled and checked.
Dec 27th, 2012, 03:12 PM
ok, so if i simply overwrite the existing sitemap the number of pages indicated as indexed in GWT becomes meaningless, no?
how will i know when it has reindexed using the sitemap?
currently, it takes a few days. i know this because on day one it typically has a status of pending. Then, over the next few days it slowly indexes the (in this case 600 or so) pages. Since i haven't tried the overwriting method i'm not sure what will happen. But, i can only assume GWT won't know I overwrote the file. So, the number of pages indexed will remain stale.
is there a fix for this, or something i have to live with as a result of overwriting the sitemap file?
Dec 27th, 2012, 03:16 PM
Your assumption is correct, the number of indexed pages won't change. If you add, say 20 new pages, Google will come along and check your sitemap.xml file. It will first do a lastmod check which returns a 304 status code if it has not been modified. As your file will have been modified, Google will know that it needs to read it again. It will find the new URLs and will index them after a short period of time.
There is nothing wrong with submitting the XML file after you updated it, its just not required. My preferred method is to do as few submissions as possible and let G follow the info that you provide when it decides it is necessary.
Dec 27th, 2012, 03:20 PM
great info to have. thanks again.
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