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I have noticed that Google often encourages us to build HTML sitemaps that are easily accessible to the site visitors.

If we create a bunch of HTML sitemap pages with thousands of links on every page then Google might think that we are spamming.

My question is, can we tell Google that this is a sitemap page and not a spam link page?

  • I am aware of Google suggesting creating sitemaps, but that generally does not mean HTML with links. What is often suggested is an XML sitemap. However, this is only necessary for very large sites or sites that cannot be fully crawled by search engine spiders such as having a login, or a pay wall, or where not all the pages are linked. Other than that, there is no advantage to creating a sitemap. As well, too many HTML links may down-grade your SERP performance. Google does look for pages with an excessive number of links. I suggest researching this further to make sure you mean HTML. – closetnoc May 18 '15 at 4:20
  • In Google's SEO starter guide they suggest to have HTML sitemaps: static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//… – Max May 18 '15 at 7:13
  • @Max Okay. I believe you! I just cannot imagine that Google really wants thousands of links on a page. I just cannot imagine that would be good for users. I know that Google does talk some about HTML sitemaps, but mostly as a framework for navigation not linking all of your pages, but topic areas. I like your answer by the way!! – closetnoc May 18 '15 at 14:15
  • I find sitemaps really useful, if I cant easily find what I'm looking for, I often click to the site map - although maybe that means their navigation stricture needs improvident! – Max May 19 '15 at 2:49
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Google will automatically crawl links as it finds them unless it runs into a link labeled as "nofollow" or a page with a robots tag containing "nofollow" in it.

If you plan to make a webpage on your site as a sitemap page, then try to make it user friendly by giving some sort of description of what each set of target URLs are about.

To make google understand that you mean a sitemap for search engines, and not a sitemap on a webpage that users see, you need to make an XML file in the sitemap format.

Take a look at this URL to understand more on sitemaps:

http://www.sitemaps.org/

And examples can be found here:

http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html

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If you have the word sitemap some where, such as in the URL, heading of the page and links pointing to it, I think Google's pretty smart to figure out that its your sitemap for users. Also if you were spamming with a page full of links, they would generally be external.

However to make your sitemap actually usable for users, if you have thousands of different pages, you probably want to split them up into different sitemaps and/or headings, you also do not need to list every page, list the ones you feel are important.

E.g on eCommerce site you may have it split into heading such as below, you might not necessarily list every product page.

Main pages

  • home
  • a bout us
  • refund policy
  • Contact us

Categories

  • blue widgets
  • red widgets
  • yellow widgets
  • green widgets

Sub Categories

  • Small blue widgets
  • Big red widgets
  • Small yellow widgets
  • Big green widgets

Brand Categories

  • Sony widgets
  • Samsung widgets
  • Apple widgets
  • HTC widgets

Don't worry about using HTML sitemaps, they are very useful and millions of sites use them.

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