Is Google Sitemaps an Index Wiper?

A few weeks after the launch of Google Sitemaps, some unlucky site owners participating in Google’s new service, find their pages wiped out from Google’s index.

As for small and new sites, that’s pretty common and has nothing to do with Google Sitemaps. When it comes to established Web sites disappearing partly or even completely, that’s another story.

There is an underestimated and often overseen risk assigned to sitemap submissions. Webmasters who have made use of sitemap tools generating the sitemaps from the web server’s file system, may have submitted ‘unintended spider food’ to Google, and quickly triggered a spam filter.

At least with important sites, it’s a must to double-check the generated sitemaps before they get submitted. Sitemap generators may dig out unlinked and outdated junk, for example spider trap links pages and doorway pages from the last century.

More info here.

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2 Comments to "Is Google Sitemaps an Index Wiper?"

  1. elran on 18 July, 2005  #link

    i read your post as well as some of the other articles you’ve written, and was wondering if you could give an example of what would be considered a spider trap links page. The reason i’m asking is cause i have a new site, it was indexed and appeared in searches for the first 2 weeks. Then out of nowhere, it was delisted. To make matters worse, i had just installed the Google Sitemaps plugin for Wordpress (the same one you mentioned in a previous article) the day before my site was wiped. I inspected the xml (maybe a little too late) and it seemed fine. I wrote about the entire experience in an article entitled: Sandbox, Ever-Flux, or the Google Yo-Yo Effect. It is mostly speculation, of course, but i thought maybe you could shed some light..
    Why are new sites delisted? (probably on google can answer that), and why is this considered to be common?
    By the way, great job with this blog and the articles at smart-it-consulting.com

  2. Sebastian on 18 July, 2005  #link

    Spider traps are SEO dinosaurs, basically large groups of Web sites all linking to each other. This attempt has been working for a while in the last century. After the millenium Google and Altavista figured out how to ban the participants automatically. Since then link spam of all sorts became more and more risky for site owners. I don’t recommend it.

    As for your speculations, don’t worry. Just keep on posting regulary and build a network of friends exchanging on-topic links in a natural -relevant- way every now and then. This attracts off-clique inbound links over time.

    Don’t spend too much time reading SEO boards. Stay away from dubious advice like ‘Do not use keywords or images with filenames or ALT tags’ (from your article ‘13 Basic SEO Steps’). ALT is not a tag by the way, it’s an attribute of the IMG tag.

    Don’t rely on links in blog comments, because those don’t count for link popularity. Write competent and interesting articles, then politely advertise those like you did in your comment here. Most probably this results in real links from blog posts, forums and alike over time.

    Your unlinked pages disappearing is normal, they’ve lost their fresh bonus after a while. They will come back when your link popularity increases.

    Focus on two things over the next months:
    1. Add unique quality content daily. Link out on every page if you find high ranked/high quality pages which are closely related to your page’s topic.
    2. Acquire valuable inbound links daily. This is easier if you link out before you ask for a reciprocal link.

    HTH
    Sebastian

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