A new Google best practice guideline says that you can improve indexing with XML Sitemaps and RSS feeds.
Improve Indexing: XML Sitemaps
XML Sitemaps are a topic I’ve covered a few times on this blog. A basic XML Sitemap is simply an XML file that lists most or all the pages on your website. This file resides on your website and should update itself regularly. The XML Sitemap protocol also allows you to specify the following:
- The last modification time of the page.
- The frequency of updates.
- A priority level for that page to your site.
XML Sitemap files are very useful for search engines. They make it very easy for them to discover pages on your site. But these files are not downloaded often since content rarely changes on most pages. For major changes to your site you can ping Google, and other search engines, telling them to re-download your XML sitemap.
Google also supports their own changes to the original XML Sitemap protocol. A Google Image Sitemap lets you add titles and captions for images found on each page. This text content helps improve indexing by simplifying the keywords associated with these photos. Video sitemaps let you include a title, description and duration along with the video.
Improve Indexing: RSS Feeds
RSS feeds are similar to XML Sitemaps. They are both XML files that lists pages on your site. There are two major differences between them. The first is that an RSS feed has far less entries. Unlike an XML Sitemap, an RSS feed usually only has 10 entries, though this is up to the RSS feed implementation.
Now you need to know how the RSS feed chooses what entries to display. This is the second major difference. RSS feeds are date oriented. They will show the 10 most recent changes on your site. This means that all entries must include the last modification time for the page.
Google will download RSS more often than XML Sitemaps since they change more faster. The whole purpose of an RSS feed is to alert you of new content. This makes it more likely that Google will discover the fresh content on your site. This will improve indexing and can improve your place in search engines and thus help your brand. It is for this purpose that we recommend you to follow Google’s recommendation and add both to your site. Good luck.
Thank you and keep building your brand.