The latest updates to Google Sitemaps have been rolled-out, providing more helpful tools and data for webmasters. These include more depth when it comes to crawl errors, expanded query stats and a robots.txt analysis tool.
Google Sitemaps now shows users all pages where errors have been found during crawling, so you can see exactly where problems lie.
Interestingly, Google has introduced expanded query stats, to help webmasters and internet marketers figure out exactly how well their pages rank for various search terms. Pretty cool.
Vanessa Fox on the Google Sitemaps blog explains more: “Query stats show you the top 20 search queries that brought up your site in the Google search results (both when users clicked on your site in the results and when they didn’t), along with the average top position of your site for that query.”
“Now, you can view data for individual properties and countries as well. For instance, you can see the search queries from users searching Google Images in Germany that returned your site in the results. You’ll only see properties and countries for which your site has data.”
Additionally, webmasters can now add up to 500 sitemaps into their account, where previously the limit was 200.
I may be missing something obvious, but account sharing doesn’t seem to have been introduced yet. I’d like to see a feature that works in a similar way to Google Analytics, where website owners / administrators can allow colleagues to log in, view results and make changes (beats password-sharing, which is a no-go area if you want to keep your Gmail account secure).
Sitemaps was launched in 2005 to help companies to achieve better indexation on Google. Matt Cutts advised that “Sitemaps should never hurt you” but some people reported problems after embracing the tool.
Nevertheless, we recommended that you use it as one of the tips in our SEO Best Practice Guide.