XML Site Map – Good or Bad?
The use of XML sitemap is always discussed at the search marketing conference. Should you use XML file or not? It may not help you with what you want it to do, but still could help you in other ways.
The use of XML sitemap seems to come up at the search conferences all the time, and SES London was not an exception. During the “Pushing Content Via XML, RSS & Site Maps” session, one of the panelists advised not to use XML file to get pages indexed. He said that it wouldn’t get them indexed any quicker, and a link from big, popular and authoritative site would work much better. I completely agree with him in the way that XML site map won’t help getting page indexed quicker, or ranking page higher in the search results.
The best way to let the engines crawl your site/pages is to; 1) get good links from other websites, and 2) have good linking structure within your site. The link is the way to tell engines that there are pages on the other side of the links.
However, I do recommend using XML site map, too. Of course, not to have the pages indexed “quicker” or to rank higher, but it does help engines to crawl those pages that are not indexed, yet.
I agree that the number of pages indexed isn’t much of a big deal, especially when we have other ways such as social media to make those important pages be seen by the audiences. But it is still important for the pages to be indexed (assuming that you want those pages to be indexed). For example, even if you created a good linking structures within your site, if some pages are not indexed, the links pointing to other pages from those pages won’t count, and your work won’t have a full effect.
Anyway, if some pages are not indexed naturally, there’s a problem. Use XML site map and tell engines to crawl. If there’s a problem, it will come up in the tools such as Google Webmaster Tool, and give you an idea of how to correct it.