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Google Sites Sitemap Documentation Removed

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Sitemaps for Google Sites

Sitemaps are a way to provide Google an XML file that helps it discover web pages. Sitemaps are best for large sites, especially sites that might be complex.

The use of sitemaps may be especially useful for sites that tend to generate archives of articles. A site map is especially useful for news sites.

A news site that is constantly churning out new content might not have a robust menu strategy for internally linking to older articles that are deeply archived. A site map solves this problem by giving search engines a way to crawl and discover archived content.

Site maps are not necessary for for web pages that are under five hundred pages in which the content is normally interlinked and easily discoverable.

According to Google:

“You might not need a sitemap if:

Your site is “small”. By small, we mean about 500 pages or less on your site. (Only pages that you think need to be in search results count toward this total.)”

Google Removed Text About Building a Sitemap

Google’s developer page about sitemap used to contain a section dedicated to Google Sites.

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Archive.org (aka The Wayback Machine) archived the content that was removed, which included detailed instructions on how to add sitemaps from Google Sites.

Google Leaves No Instructions for Sitemaps

Google’s updated sitemap developer page leaves no instructions for how to create a sitemap that is specific to Google Sites.

This is what the Google Sites instructions used to show:

Screenshot of Google Developer Page for Google Sites Sitemaps

Screenshot of archive of Google developer page about sitemaps

Clicking the “+” sign revealed the following instructions for how to add sitemaps.

Removed Instructions for How to Add Sitemaps in Google Sites

Google Sites
If you’ve used Google Sites to create and verify a site, Google Sites will automatically generate a sitemap for you. You cannot modify the sitemap, but you can submit it to Google if you want to read the sitemap report data. Note that your sitemap might not be displayed properly if you have more than 1,000 pages in a single sub-directory.

If your site is hosted at Google Sites, your sitemap URL is http://sites.google.com/site/yoursitename/system/feeds/sitemap
If you created your site using Google Workspace, your sitemap URL is https://sites.google.com/yourdomain/yoursitename/system/feeds/sitemap”

This is a screenshot of how the current Google Developer page for sitemaps looks, where it’s now missing instructions for generating Google Sites Sitemaps:

Screenshot of Current Google Developer Page for Sitemaps

Screenshot of current Google developer page about sitemaps

As you can see above, the content is completely missing.

It’s unclear how long this functionality has been missing. But the documentation makes it very clear that Google Sites does not have a native sitemap generation tool.

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Citations

Archive of Google’s Sitemap Developer Page

Updated Google Sitemap Developer Page

Searchenginejournal.com

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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