Google recently updated the Sitemaps section of Webmaster Tools to be more user-friendly and provide clearer, more detailed information. If you haven’t heard of Webmaster Tools before, it is a free platform that identifies and suggests solutions for technical problems on your website, reporting on aspects like page speed, search engine rankings, and duplicate content.
This latest overhaul to the Sitemaps section offers a number of benefits to webmasters.
- You can now see a breakdown of the number of pages that have been submitted to Google compared to the number actually indexed (that appear in Google’s search results).
- As shown above, you can also now see the different types of sitemaps that have been submitted, including:
- Web sitemap (the standard for normal web pages)
- Images sitemap (to help your images get indexed in Google Images)
- Video sitemap (integrated with Google results in some cases)
- News sitemap (with the recent changes to the algorithm favouring fresher results, this can be important)
- You can test your sitemap to a degree allowing Googlebot to quickly crawl it. This test should detect most errors within the sitemap, though it is not as exhaustive. The errors are now reported in groups, rather than individually, which allows you to identify their underlying causes more quickly.
- You can delete sitemaps from not only your account but also from the accounts of other owners of the site. This does not necessarily mean Google will not crawl your website though. The best way to ensure this is to either delete the sitemap from your server or disallow it through robots.txt.
For more information about Google Webmaster Tools, visit here.