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New No-no?

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#1 nuts


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Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:08 AM

Hello all

I **may** have discovered something that causes google to meddle with a site's positioning.

While NOT re-organizing a (large) site, I did come up with a different method of creating sitemaps, and as a result, gave them different names. I pulled the old sitemaps and replaced sitemap-index.xml.gz with a new index listing the new sitemap files.

What **seems** to have happened is that google dropped listings from the old sitemaps and is gradually replacing them with the same pages listed in the new sitemaps, which of course takes time for a large site. This particular website has 5.7 million total urls submitted in sitemaps, and now shows 1.3 million indexed and is spidered at an average rate of 53,000 pages per day. It's climbing back. 20% of the total being indexed is not bad, IMO. Webmaster tools shows sitemap-index submission date as 2 months ago, but it may have been submitted repeatedly to correct errors, I don't remember exactly.

So to sum it up, I guess this falls under the umbrella of "don't make radical changes".


#2 JohnMu


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Posted 13 May 2010 - 04:33 PM

Hi Mike
I think what you saw must have been a coincidence -- but it's hard to say for sure without knowing the site (care to post the URL?).

We use Sitemap files for discovering new URLs and recognizing when existing ones have changed; we don't remove URLs from the index that aren't in a Sitemap file. Moving a URL from one Sitemap file to a different one should not negatively impact that URL's status in our index (in the worst case we'll just recrawl it to see if it has changed :-)).

That said, when you move URLs around across Sitemap files, we'll have to recalculate the indexed URL count per Sitemap (and Sitemap Index) file, so maybe you are just seeing the changes in the count there? Usually that count should catch up within a few days.


#3 eKstreme


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Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:15 PM

I can confirm John's count explanation because I witnessed it first hand. While reorganizing a very large site's sitemaps, we went through a few renamings. Immediately after the rename, the indexed count in WM Tools dropped to essentially zero and then caught up eventually. During the catch up, there was nothing changed in terms of rankings or traffic or anything.

It's as if nothing happened, which is true: it only took WM Tools some time to process all the new sitemaps and figure it actually already knows about the URLs.

<geek type="sad">If you want to watch something mesmerizing, specify the new sitemap index and keep refreshing WM Tools watching Google download them all in a short amount of time. There is something beautiful about that list getting updated.</geek>

#4 nuts


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Posted 13 May 2010 - 06:41 PM

Interesting comments, thanks, and I do watch wm tools going through new sitemaps, seems like google keeps improving their handling of sitemaps. In this case it was months for the catchup, not days. url is [healthcarehiring dot com]

Another recent g improvement, though really for another forum, is that you can now request deletion of a page if it returns 404/410, and it gets done in about 24 hours. Previously the rules were not explained very well, but now anybody with a wm tools account can get a page removed from the g index if the webmaster has cancelled it and it returns 404. This feature has been around a while, but recently they improved the handling of it.

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