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I currently have no sitemap for a website I'm creating.

I do have an RSS feed which includes the N latest updated posts on the site. It doesn't include everything on the site though, just blog posts. Creating a full sitemap would be a bit of a hassle I think.

  1. Should I submit the feed instead?
  2. Is there a difference between using a regular sitemap and a feed?
  3. Is it important to have a sitemap? What happens when you do/don't?
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Submit both your sitemap and your RSS Feed. Since Google lets you, you might as well. Who knows maybe feeds are sent to their blog search bots while the sitemap is sent off to regular Google bots. –  Anagio May 31 '12 at 11:51
    
Issue is I only have the feed. Don't have a sitemap and don't think I have the will to create one :p –  Svish May 31 '12 at 12:50
    
You should find the will to create one and submit it to Google and Bing. –  Anagio May 31 '12 at 19:01
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3 Answers

You should submit both using sitemap and RSS feeds to Google Webmaster. You can easily do so by going in Sitemaps tab into Google Webmaster.

URl to be used to submit RSS feeds- /feeds/posts/default?orderby=updated Normal sitemap by adding - /atom.xml?redirect=false

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The difference between them is that an RSS feed is simply a list of your pages with the date they were published, while a sitemap has more details. You can add a last modified date, priority and update frequency.

As you also know, an RSS feed only shows a certain number of items. If all your older articles are already indexed then there may not be a reason to use a sitemap.

However, don't forget also that you may have other custom pages not in an RSS feed, e.g. an about page. Again, if these are linked well and already indexed then don't worry about it, but if you start adding many more in the future then a sitemap would be beneficial.

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1) Yes. 2) No. 3) Maybe.

Sitemaps just help the GoogleBot do it's job more quickly. For example, if you have content that's hard to index (or parts of your site that Google doesn't index at present) a sitemap can help the bot find it's way around. It's also an efficient way to alert a search engine to new content.

It's not a requirement and are there are no easily discernible consequences to not having one, but IMHO helping Google to find your site content more quickly is a no brainer.

There are plenty of php scripts and Wordpress plugins that can generate a sitemap dynamically, so you don't have to do it manually. Once you have one of these installed you should never have to worry about it again.

Regarding RSS vs XML sitemap according to Google's Webmaster Central Blog.

No longer do you have to specify the Sitemap file type—we'll determine the type of data you're submitting automatically. Let's take a quick look at the kinds of Sitemap files we support as well as the ways they can be submitted to us.

So basically you can send Google information in a number of formats and they won't bat an eye.

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