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I have recently launched a website which is using a free sitemap generator. It's a large travel agency site with predominantly dynamically generated content - users can add their products as and when and be listed automatically.

The guy doing the programming for the site says the sitemap generator is not up to the job and that I should be ranking far better for certain search terms than the site is now. He reckons it doesn't provide lastmod info and the sitemap should be submitted every time a new directory is added or change made.

He seems to think that I need to spend £400-£500 for him to custom build a site map. Surely there's a cheaper option out there for a sitemap that can be generated daily or 'ping' Google every-time an addition to the site is made or product added?

Sorry for the non tech speak - I've got my web designer telling one thing and the programmer another so I'm just left trawling through Q&As.

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closed as off-topic by John Conde Feb 12 at 20:18

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The sitemap does not affect rankings. It only tells search engines where to find your content. The lastmod property is not important. You should update your sitemap whenever new pages are added to your site or old page are removed but not doing so won't hurt you. You just might see some 404 errors in your GWT account or new pages might not get indexed if they cannot be found in other ways (i.e. following links). Google will also request your sitemap periodically so pinging them is not important. –  John Conde Feb 12 at 20:21

1 Answer 1

In my case, I wrote the content management system (CMS) and the analysis database and system from scratch. While my system is not completely dynamic, it is designed to be when done. As part of this, I wrote some code that generates a site map for as much as a million pages per day in less than 30 minutes of programming time. It takes only a few seconds to run and create a complete sitemap for the whole site. I am not a brilliant programmer either! Your situation may not match mine of course.

In my case, I just write over the old site map and the search engines notice the updated sitemap very quickly and take that into account. Essentially, they look for new pages first, then based upon history, they check pages that change rapidly. Search engines work at their own pace and there is little you can do to speed them up except to have fast moving content over a period of time. I have had new pages listed in Google in less than 20 minutes.

I would pay the programmer if you trust him/her. I am not sure about the price. It may be a bargain or too much. Using a tool will not likely do what you want since most I have seen operate by spidering the site and must be run by a human. There may be other options but I have not dabbled with too many tools. If you are using a CMS, then there may be a plugin. If your site has been written from scratch, then it is likely best to roll the sitemap creation into your application which is what I did. It is just one less thing to think about as your site expands.

If you hire the programmer, get a time estimate and rate and lock that in. I somewhat doubt that the fee fits the task. But again, I do not know your situation. It may be right. Trust your gut feelings.

Just my thoughts on the matter.

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