Google is always good for a few news: since yesterday news queries are availavle as RSS feed. That’s good news, although Google shoves outdated HTML (font tags and alike) into the item description. It’s good practice to separate the content from its presentation, and hard coded background colors in combination with foreign CSS can screw a page, thus webmasters must extract the text content if they want to make use of Google’s news feeds.
As for Google and RSS, to adjust Ms. Googlebot’s greed on harvested feeds, Google needs to install a ping service. Currently Ms. Googlebot requests feeds way too often, because she spiders them based on guesses and time schedules (one or more fetches every 15 minutes). From my wish list: http://feeds.google.com/ping?feedURI usable for submissions and pings on updates.
Google already makes use of ping technology in the sitemap program, so a ping server shouldn’t be a big issue. Apropos sitemaps: the Google Sitemaps team has launched Inside Google Sitemaps. While I’m on Google bashing, here is a quote from the welcome post (tip: a prominent home link on every page wouldn’t hurt, especially since the title is linked to google.com instead of the blog):
When you submit your Sitemap, you help us learn more about the contents of your site. Participation in this program will not affect your pages’ rankings or cause your pages to be removed from our index.
That’s not always true. Googlebot discovering a whole site will find a lot of stuff which is relevant for rankings, for example anchor text of internal links on formerly unknown pages, and this may improve a site’s overall search engine visibility. On the other hand sitemap based junk submissions can easily tank a site on the SERPs.
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