Sitemaps for search engines - can they be dangerous?


It has generally been accepted for some time (at least in published articles) that search engine sitemaps are a good thing and benefit search engine rankings. This is still often the case.

But can they actually be harmful? Cornish WebServices agree with the concerns of other SEO consultants that there is a danger from these sitemaps which are now used by all the major search engines.

A search engine sitemap is an XML file that lists filenames for a website ad is used by all the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask). The information in the XML file helps the search engine robots crawl your website.

But this file content is also viewable by other non search engine robots and this is where the problem lies. Some search engine spammers use the sitemaps XML files to find contents for their own websites, usually called ‘scraper sites’. These are websites that take information from other websites using automated tools. They are usually used on MFA (Made For Adsense) websites which the spammers use to make money from the Google PPC content network (Adsense).

This can lead to duplicate content, with adverse rankings for your own website.

When Cornish WebServices carry out search engine optimisation work on an ongoing basis we regularly check for abuse of these sitemaps, as there is great potential for these to actually harm rankings.

See the page on search engine optimisation services for further information on maintaining high rankings in the search engines.

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