I walk into the room, 7 minutes before air time and Vanessa Fox of Google Webmaster Central is handing out donuts. Yum! On the panel are representatives from all the major engines plus Todd Oilman Friesen and Eric from Performics. Danny Sullivan is modding up this panel. All the search engines have a big announcement, specifically Search Engines Unite On Sitemaps Autodiscovery from Danny at Search Engine Land.
Todd Friesen walks in a minute after the official start time, but he made it. They did not start yet. Don't think we didn't notice Todd! This panel is packed. Looking forward to getting something to eat...
I guess Todd was not late. We are now scheduled to start at 10:30 not 10:15. Danny decides to hand out the remaining donuts, imported from Canada, to the audience. I could have charged my laptop another 15 minutes. Anyway, he is trying hard to sell those donuts. I learned Yahoo Canada has actually brought them with them here. Then Danny mocks that I am blogging about the donuts, but he is not mocking that I am covering that he is mocking me. So who gets the last laugh now?
Priyank Garg, Product Manager, Yahoo! Search is up first. - Sitemaps are an XML schema to publish your site's URLs to search crawlers - Google initiated it and Yahoo and Microsoft are joint sponsors. - He showed a sample file, he then showed examples of the fields. - Sitemaps rules include; the path must contain the sitemaps file, sitemaps are expected to be valid XML, all URLs must be entity escaped, all meta data are hints for crawlers and used to improve crawl. - You can put several Sitemaps in a Sitemap index file and point in this file to all your sitemaps.
- How do you submit your sitemap to a search engine? - Publish your sitemap and then submit to a search engine so they decided to make it better. - Autodiscovery now is there, today (see link above) - So now all you do is publish your sitemap, put a ointer to the sitemap and the search engine will find it. - Ask.com has also joined in to support this standard - Sitemaps are independent of useragent - Provide full URL of sitemap - There are international languages also available at sitemaps.org
Danny again mocks me! Tim Mayer comes in; so then Danny gives him attention, so the spotlight is now on him. No Matt Cutts, so attack Tim from Yahoo!
Maile Ohye, Senior Support Engineer, Google is next up. The benefits of sitemaps is that it maximizes your site to search engines. A sitemap list URLs as a txt file, rss feed or XML protocol. She then gives examples of all the protocols. The benefit to search engines is that it aids the crawler to build a greater index. Sitemaps improve index freshness by helping awareness of new or frequently modified content. Sitemaps increase efficiency by helping to identify unchanged pages to prevent unnecessary crawling. So now you can get indexed through web crawl or through sitemaps submission. She quickly shows other methods into Google's vertical engines. She shares some sitemaps guidelines, similar to Yahoo's discussion. She then goes through the different files accepted, Ill skip these slides. There are sitemaps generators at code.google.com. She then shares URLs to help at Webmaster Central. She then goes through the steps to setting up a Google Webmaster Central account, she goes into this in detail, so I will take a break.
Priyank Garg, Product Manager, Yahoo! Search is back with more on Site Explorer tools that recently came out. It is now out of beta. He shows how it works, I covered this so many times in the past, so again, Ill skip. He explains you get more info when you log in and authenticate. They now accept mobile feeds in Site Explorer as of yesterday. He shows the delete URL feature and shows last crawl dates that are available to authenticated users. If you delete it by accident, you can recover. They added a "report spam" link. If you find an inlink that seems spammy, you can just click a button and all you have to do is click send. This won't hurt the inlink that you reported, directly. So you won't be associated with the link farm.
Vivek Pathak, Infrastructure Product Manager, Ask.com is now up. They are excited to be part of this. Ask.com will be looking for your files. He just explains why this is good.... He is looking forward to comments...
Nathan Buggia, Senior Product Manager, Live Search is now up also, without a presentation. He asked a few Qs. Of those people using sitemaps, how many are using txt based sitemaps"? Not so many. Atom sitemaps? not so many. XML sitemaps? Most people raised their hands. He said he is also excited by this announcement. Microsoft doesnt have a webmaster section now, they hope to roll out support over the year. Keep your eyes pealed on their blog, to see when it comes out (yea, whatever, they said that a long long time ago).
Eric Papczun, Director of Natural Search, Performics is now up. So now you have this info, how can you use it?
- Sitemaps usually picked up within 1-2 days - Entire sitemap is normally crawled within 3 - 14 days, average 7 days - Small sites with low PageRank will take longer - Also have an optimized native sitemap - Focus the crawer on the right content by excluding redundant content, disembodied content and spammy stuff - Use the preferred domain tool - Include separate sitemaps for news, video and mobile content - They either see number of indexed pages go up or go down depending on the redundancy of those pages. In both cases, there are successes. - He then shows off some crawl errors - He then shows the link reports
Todd Friesen, Director of Search Engine Optimization, Range Online Media to not talk about sitemaps but rather about paid feeds from Yahoo. Search submit pro. It is a hybrid model of both natural search with paid links within those results. A flat CPC model, it is not an auction model. You control this and it has nothing to do with your page. It is easy to set up. Your feed is crawled on a daily basis, so all changes are picked up and refreshed within 48 hours. Two kinds of submissions, TLP submission (top level domain) and the best part of the TLP submission is the "quick links" under the results - you define them and they convert very well. The next level is the feeds part, where you submit categories and products.
They like to use feeds on the forefront of their SEO campaigns. You get some nice reports by using these programs. Updates are within 48 hours, so you don't have to wait too long. The CPC prices run about 25% on average of the top CPC price in the sponsored results.
He then has a case study... I may post these details later...
Note: Please excuse typos, this coverage is provided live and without much editing, due to the timeliness of the coverage...