Google has announced the addition of some truly useful features to make Google Sitemaps an even better tool for the web. They’ve given their site a facelift and made it easier to navigate. They asked for feedback and they listened. Hopefully, the result is something everyone will love.
A feature that many webmasters will be happy to know about is the notification of violations. No longer will they be left in the dark about what is happening. They will know if they have violated the webmaster guidelines and why.
The rules are pretty simple. Create your site that is truly helpful to your users and avoid doing naughty things just to increase your ranking. Linking to bad sites, hidden texts or links, installing viruses, trojans or other “badware” are just a few of the reasons why your URL will not be included in any Google index.
You don’t even need to look far to know if you have a violation. Google notifies you directly on the summary page of your account. They also place a link to webmaster’s guidelines so you can double check that your site is once again in proper form to be included in Google’s index – this is the second new feature.
Google does not want to exclude any sites that are good. It is possible that the violations were unintentional. It may even be that the webmasters truly have overlooked some items on their site. Google says clean it up and get the chance to be re-included.
Re-inclusion is absolutely simple and easy. Once you see the violation notification, check what needs to be fixed. Correct the item that Google felt is a violation of their rules. Now all you need to do is click on the request reinclusion link on your summary page, or the link at the Google Sitemap home page, and fill out the form. Just don’t forget that you don’t need to request reinclusion if you haven’t received a violation.
If you’re a new webmaster and need a helping hand, Google has a help center for webmasters. It has all the information you need to know about Google Sitemaps. If you have questions about Googlebot, crawling, indexing, ranking and the like, this is the place to go. If the answer you’re looking for isn’t there, no worries; the Google Sitemaps community is there to interact with as well.
By the way, not everybody by the way receives a notification of violation. Google has chosen not to notify certain webmasters of their penalty in certain cases. For example, they will not notify a spammer that he’s been caught. Doing so will only alert him that they have caught on to his game and possibly trigger his making even sneakier ways to get in.
On the whole, these improvements are wonderful additions and long overdue. Google really wants to improve their services and the best way is for people to keep using their products and giving feedback. The team behind Google is definitely listening.