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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Site map or index page
    What is the differance between a site map and index page? Which should one use for SE's?

  2. #2
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    A site map is typically a page within a site that provides links to all the major areas of the site that you want indexed by the search engines. There is usually a link in the footer on every page in a site to the site map. This provides numerous hyperlink paths for spiders to follow. A well designed site map can also help users to find the area of your site that they are looking for.

    If you are using a JavaScript or Flash menu, you pretty much need a site map because most spiders cannot follow JavaScript or Flash links.

    I'm not sure what you are referring to as an index page. The only index page in most sites is an index.html, or index.php or index.asp page, which is the home page. You may have heard someone use the term index page to refer to a site map, although that would not be the correct terminology.
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Thanks Tech Evangelist!

  4. #4
    More Cheesier Than Ever Cheesehead's Avatar
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    My site maps consist of a simple HTML page (I call mine site-map.html) that has categories and in each category there are descriptive links to each page on the site. It is a site "directory" and provides the vistitor with a well organized summary of the site in addition to providing food for spiders. This works well if your site does not contain too many pages.

    Tech Evangelist: Is there a SE benefit in placing a link to the site map on every page as opposed to only linking to the site map on the index page?
    This World is Not My Home
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  5. #5
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    there is another way of looking at sitemaps. Google, for instance, will look at a special file on your server called sitemap.txt or sitemap.xml, depending on which way it was made. This is not normally seen by a visitor but could help with SEO.

    more on this at:
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/si...&utm_source=EM

  6. #6
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    I used to have my contact page link and site map page link on each page but I found that the search engines were repeating this info as part of the description paragraph for each page which was cutting down on the description I wanted - also it seemed to get me into duplication errors. Now I link each page to Home (index.html) and have my info only on that page - seems to help.

    Another point - I include a sitelist.txt done in the Yahoo format (one big text list of links) and the Google format (the same until one needs to exceed 50,000 files in the list) - it doesn't seem to break me out of the sandboxes any sooner, but my sites have been well scanned by Yahoo/Google so when I do emerge they have a full uptodate index - Charles

  7. #7
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
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    Cheesehead, IMHO there is a very good reason for adding a site map link to every page. It increases the chances for a spider to find deeper pages through the site map. Most spiders randomly follow paths through a Web site via hyperlinks. That's why it can take a while for a large site to get indexed. Also, multiple internal links to a page raises the internal link popularity value of that page, which means that spiders will visit it more often. The site map is therefore a good page to place links to new pages that are not linked to directly from the home page.

    A good site map will speed up the indexing process. I've set up literally hundreds of site maps and placed liks in the footer on every page and have always found it to be beneficial. According to Google's guidelines, you can only place 100 links on a page. Anything more than that may make the page look like a link farm, which can create a penalty. The best way to set up a site map page is to use text hyperlinks to the major areas of your site and provide a brief description of what a user can expect to find on each page. Also, try to include pages that are more than three clicks from the home page. Many spiders will only penetrate a site to three levels.

    The Google site map that Herb mentioned is another way to help GoogleBot find buried pages, but it only works for Google. Some people have seen good results from using a Google site map. If you have a large site, it's worthwhile to experiment with it.

    I used to have my contact page link and site map page link on each page but I found that the search engines were repeating this info as part of the description paragraph for each page which was cutting down on the description I wanted - also it seemed to get me into duplication errors.
    Micheck, I'm not sure what the problem was with your site description. A link should have nothing to do with the page description. Several years ago Google did have a problem where it was picking up hyperlinks when a menu was near the to of the page script, but I have not seen that problem for several years. The only exception is when there is no content on a page because it is either unreadable by spiders (poor coding or errors) or all the text is in images (which spiders cannot read). Anyway, it is rare to see that problem today. Make sure that every page has a description meta tag. That should also help avoid that issue. Google will use the description meta tag when it cannot find content.

    I'm also not sure what the duplication errors were. If you mean duplicate page or duplicate content penalties, the way to prevent that is to make sure that no page is duplicated and only one URL represents a page. That also goes back to coding and design issues.
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