Jewellery Blog, Gemstone Information

February 23, 2009

Sitemap really helps

Filed under: Men's Jewellery — pangsheng @ 12:18 pm

After working with Sitemap for a couple of months, I find out that Sitemap is really helpful in terms of SEO. It’s extremely helpful for a dynamic website.

In my previous post, I mentioned that by submitting a Sitemap, the number of pages indexed by Google increased instantly, and it was quite a significant rise. Recently, I discovered that Sitemap not only helps to increase number of the search engine index page, but also improve the accuracy of index.

There are a lot of duplicate contents and redirect URLs on my website, because it was developed using PHP. To be honest, I don’t know too much about PHP, but I do know that duplicate contents and redirect URLs are definitely not SEO friendly. For example, in the Google Webmaster Tools, I can see that around 2,116 URLs from Gemondo are not followed by Google because of redirect.

urls-not-followed1

Most of those pages are on site search bar generated URLs.

On Gemondo product category page, there is a search bar on the top of product list. This search bar enables users to search jewellery according to different material, brand etc.

search-bar

These generated URLs look similar like: http://www.gemondo.com/index.php?page=cat_view&path=10-162

Apparently, Google doesn’t like these URLs very much, because they are the source of the redirect URLs. For example,

http://www.gemondo.com/index.php?page=cat_view&path=10-162-161-163

the above URL looks like a category URL, but actually when you click on it, you get redirected to a product page.

The actually destination of this URL is  http://www.gemondo.com/index.php?page=item_view&item_id=6471

Although Google managed to recognize some of these redirect URLs, there were still a lot of them be indexed. Before I submit the Sitemap, most of product URLs indexed by Google were those redirect ones.

redirect-urls-in-serp1

To solve this problem, re-design the website URL structure might be an ultimate solution, but not when our website developer is struggling with some minor change of the website.  To solve the problem by myself, I created a Sitemap with all the main URLs which I want Google to index. The Sitemap includes all the manually created landing pages and main category pages, as well as all the product pages. I also specified the priority of the homepage as “1”, the landing pages and category pages as “0.9” and the product pages as “0.5”. All the generated URLs are excluded in the Sitemap.

Fortunately, 10 hours after I submit the sitemap, Google crawled my website. 3 days after the submission, all the major landing pages and category pages were indexed, and almost all the product pages’ URLs have change from

http://www.gemondo.com/index.php?page=cat_view&path=??? to

http://www.gemondo.com/index.php?page=item_view&item_id=???

This is exactly how I want Google to index my website. I’m very glad that Google can “listen” to us webmaster. And I’m very happy to tell everyone that Sitemap really helps. If you want to optimise your website, submiting Sitemap to search engines is one of the few things you can start with.

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