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Google Sitemaps & Page Rank

Interview with Vanessa Fox From Google Sitemaps

In this interview Vanessa talks about:

  • Value of Page Rank
  • Value of SiteMaps
  • Text to Code Ratio


Duplicate Content Filter & Penalty

Question: Are sites penalised for duplicate content or do you just filter it out?

Vanessa: If Google sees information on a site that is duplicate of its own pages, or very similar such as the same page linked to under different classifications or multiple URL’s[using different URL names] to same page – No penalties apply to this type of situation

But filtering occurs. Google doesn't want to show 10 URL’s that all go to the same page. If you don’t care which one is indexed, Google picks one. If you want to pick – use your sitemap and submit your preference or use redirect functions.

Where pages are very similar, the same applies. Instead make pages very distinct.


Code To Text Ratio

Question: Does Google care about Code:Text ratio?

Vanessa: Many sites using php includes – Google doesn’t care – they ignore the code, but pick up the text of the includes.


Sitemap Formats

Question: Does Google have a preference for the format of the submitted sitemap?

Vanessa: No. It accepts multiple formats of sitemaps: RSS Feeds, XML, OAIPMH, Text File. Do the one easiest.

  • If you have a blog – just use your RSS Feed.\
  • If you don’t know XML – do a text file
  • If you can build a script that updates from the database to update the XML files


Question: What about Optional Attributes?

Vanessa: These are not required. However, the Priority Number helps. Understand that  iIf set all pages to priority = 1, this does not mean that Google views all these pages are gold. It means you think all your pages have the same rank. It signals to Google Bots what pages to focus spidering before others.

For instance, setting your Home page priority of 1 is only relative to own site. Its not about ranking.

Question: Do Sitemaps impact page ranking?

Vanessa: Site maps don’t impact ranking, other than helping Google find all your pages.


Page Rank

Question: Can you explain about page ranking?

Vanessa: There are several types of Page Rank

  • Toolbar page rank
  • Server page rank
  • Sitemap page ranking [page priority ranking]

The toolbar page rank doesn’t get updated that often. People get too hung up on it. There are so many things that go into getting your site index. Don’t get fixated on Toolbar number.

Information on how the Google servers rank YOUR site pages is given to you if you verify with Google as a site owner. You cannot use the tools to see the ranking of your competition.

Question: What about those who only seek out backlinks from sites that have a page rank of 4 and higher?

Vanessa: Google is more interested to see backlinks from from relevant pages, ignore what the referring page rank is.


SiteMaps Links

Question: Is it possible in the future we may see Google data inside sitemaps?

Vanessa: Sitemap is a poor SEO choice for a competent webmaster. If you think you need this to get your site indexed, you are doing a poor job of everything else.

Why do you have to choose. Do the external backlinks, internal links, unique content, valuable content, sitemap,


Value of Sitemap

Question: Explain when a Sitemap is valuable?

Vanessa:  When site is new, when a site is dynamic – hard to see all links – e.g pages behind a form.

Question: What is the most important optional information to include?

Vanessa:  Optional Attribute Information: most important are:

  • Last Modified
  • Change Frequency

The Sitemap is only used for crawling, not ranking.


Monster Content Sites

Question: What about very large content sites that hae lot of pages indexed, and a lot not indexed. Should you can submit sitemap of all pages, or just pages not yet indexed.

Vanessa:  whatever you prefer. If you have internally linked your site well, Google will find most pages anyway, and we may be looking at those back of form pages again following the input from this conference.

Notable Comment: "Google wants collaboration with site owners"

Editors Note: Please note that the above is a summarised version of the interview transcript and is not intended as quotes or undertakings from either the interviewer, Vanessa or Google. To hear the full interview.

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