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Does anyone use sitemaps anymore?

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I realize most websites have them, but what I really mean is do you pay attention to your sitemaps? Do you optimize them in any way? Are you trying to prioritize pages? Or do you just have a plugin that builds it automatically and you never really pay attention to it anymore?

I fall into the latter group, but I am wondering if I am missing out on anything.

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I don't really pay attention to them. If I built a 300+ page website or a site that had a lot of orphaned pages for some reason, I would probably pay a little closer attention. Other than that, I think Google has pretty much evolved past crawling content based on sitemaps.

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A while back I was using video sitemaps to get my video thumbnail images to show on Google SERPs for my keywords. It was damn easy once I figured out the sitemap format.

Google cracked down on those images. They still show up today but traffic has to click the Video tab at the top of the SERPs. Bastages.

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49 minutes ago, yukon said:

A while back I was using video sitemaps to get my video thumbnail images to show on Google SERPs for my keywords. It was damn easy once I figured out the sitemap format.

Google cracked down on those images. They still show up today but traffic has to click the Video tab at the top of the SERPs. Bastages.

I'm pretty sure the video sitemap is still a separate crawler, so if you want more crawlers it could get you potentially faster index times. In theory.

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7 hours ago, Chase26 said:

I cannot remember the last time I paid attention to a sitemap.

 

That's fine but Google still looks at xml sitemaps all day long. Easy to prove just by looking at Google Search Console.

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8 hours ago, yukon said:

 

That's fine but Google still looks at xml sitemaps all day long. Easy to prove just by looking at Google Search Console.

 

Google does a lot of things that are old and outdated. It doesn't mean we need to pay attention to them or put in any effort into them.

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2 hours ago, Chase26 said:

 

Google does a lot of things that are old and outdated. It doesn't mean we need to pay attention to them or put in any effort into them.

That doesn't make any sense unless you could care less about Google SERPs.

I just told you how to get video thumbnail images to show up in Google SERPs, it's easy with an xml sitemap. Guaranteed to boost SERP CTR... but If you don't care I have no idea why you're posting in an SEO thread. 

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4 hours ago, Chase26 said:

 

Google does a lot of things that are old and outdated. It doesn't mean we need to pay attention to them or put in any effort into them.

Sitemaps aren't old and outdated. And there is a certain amount of effort that I put into them once and once only.

Case in point.

Client came to me day before yesterday with a new site they'd built a month ago. Surprisingly they did a pretty good job on everything including their onsite seo. Page names, titles, descriptions, H tags, Alt tags and all were surprisingly in place.

Problem. The site was nowhere to be found in the rankings.

It took them a week or two to build it and then they unticked the box in wordpress so that the search engines could index it. Two weeks later and they couldn't find anything but the homepage. They could search text directly off the pages and nada.

Got them a Google Search Console setup. Had them submit a sitemap.xml file via a plugin. Went into Search Console and did a desktop fetch on every page of the site. Told google to index the pages.....

Two hours later every page was indexed in google and findable for the keyprhases they were targeting.

Do I pay attention to them? Not really

Do I optimize them? Not really

I do install them via a plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/, submit them in Google Search Console. Then force feed each page using the google fetch. Then submit what was fetched for indexing.

After that I forget about them.

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