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2009-01-08 17:54:57

When a Google Sitemap Hurts Your Rankings


If you’re doing real estate marketing online, you need good rankings in the search engines. One of our contributors, Sam Chapman, wrote about the fact that he had fallen off the first page of Google for his main keyword. Luckily, his website is strong enough that the activity on his site wasn’t really affected.

I got an email from Sam the other day. He’s figured out how to retrieve his high ranking on Google for his main keyword phrase!

And, it’s a pretty weird fix.

When Can a Google Sitemap Hurt Your Ranking?

Sam wrote, “I had a Google sitemap warning in the Google Webmaster Tools. It stated that my RSS feed had too many tags and that I should fix and resubmit. The thing that both puzzled me and troubled me was that I first saw the warning a few weeks after falling off page one for my most coveted search term - Austin real estate.”
Sam tapped the resources at one of the real estate forums by publishing a post asking if anyone knew anything about that error. One of the other forum members posted a link to a blog post that discussed merging two blogs into one.
The owner of the blogs didn’t mention getting an error message, and his merged blogs were starting to gain ground. But, he was frustrated because his pages weren’t getting indexed very quickly. The answer came from a friend, whose advice was “Delete your Google Sitemap.xml file and make the search engines crawl the site from scratch.”
Once the file was deleted, the owner of the combined blogs saw his indexed pages increase dramatically. So, Sam decided to try the same thing with his website.
Within 10 days, he was back on page one of the Google SERPs for his key real estate marketing term, Austin Real Estate.
The Morals of the Story?
  •  Having a site map on your real estate website is a good thing. And, in most instances, submitting a Google sitemap is a good thing, too.
  • You may or may not get an error message in your Google Webmaster Tools when a site map is confusing the search engine web crawlers.
  • There may be times when some issue with your Google sitemap can negatively impact your rankings, and you’d be better off deleting the site map
  •  If you have submitted a Google sitemap, but you don’t actively use the webmaster tools, you better check your Google Webmaster Tools periodically to make sure that there are no issues you need to be aware of!
Kathleen Allardyce is the founder of Getting It Write, Inc. The firm specializes in providing Web-Centric Real Estate Marketing services to agents and brokers – a one-stop service that establishes clients as true Internet professionals. Services include developing brands, logos and lead-generating websites. Visit her real estate marketing website, real estate marketing blog, and Point2 Agent real estate website.

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