$375 for a Google sitemap and a Yahoo! sitemap is an exorbitant price! Believe it or not, there are so called SEO companies ready to charge such a price and enough website owners who fall for the scam. This article explains why you should not pay for Google sitemaps.
SEO Scammers Approach Their Victims Via Email
Although unsolicited, we cannot consider the following email “spam.” The sender approaches the website owner individually, with a business proposition. The problem is not in the approach, but in the “offer.” The sender sells something the receiver can get for free.
A client received today an email with the following content:
As I was on http://www.webiste.com this morning, I was unable to locate a “Google Sitemap file” on your website.
I am not referring to a regular “site map” for people to visit online, but rather to a script which helps Google to read and index your website’s overall content. I advise you to visit us online where we explain clearly what a “Google Sitemap file” is and what you need to do to get one: http://scamsite.com/google_sitemap.html
A Sitemap file is a “code” placed in the root directory of your website which captures all the crucial information about your website, thus facilitating the crawling and indexing process for Google.
Give Google easier access to your site: Get a Google Sitemap file!
We offer a full turnkey service, including Google and Yahoo Sitemap files creation + registration. Visit us online for more details.
Naturally, I visited the site linked in the content of the email and I finally landed on a page that featured the following prices:
Google Sitemap file = $250
Yahoo Sitemap file = $125
Google + Yahoo Sitemap files = $375
Note the screenshot below.
This is what I call SEO scam.
Free Google Sitemap Generators
My client was smart enough to ask why I haven’t developed a Google sitemap and if this was something he should worry about. Personally, although a Google sitemap cannot hurt, I do not recommend it for sites that are smaller than 100 pages, don’t have frequent updates and are already indexed for all their selling keywords in the top ten Google results.
I explained to my client that a Google sitemap, although it doesn’t hurt, it is not a “must have” for his site. I also advised him not to pay for a Google sitemap that he himself could create by visiting a site like http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ which offers for free all the sitemaps the email scammers want charge him for.
xml-sitemaps.com is free for sitemaps of up to 500 pages and offers for sites that need sitemaps larger than 500 pages an “Ulimited sitemap generator” that can be purchased for as low as 19,99 USD.
Other free Google sitemap generators:
Other sitemap generators just “pretend to be free” – they require you to add a link back on your site or request that you place a script on your pages. Don’t use these tools: avoid giving link juice to sites unrelated to yours and most importantly avoid adding scripts that could be used by these entities to infect your site with malware.
Why Not to Pay for Google Sitemaps
To call a scammer by his name, there is something wrong in this equation – note my comments in purple, bold.
Google Sitemap file = $250 – for sites under 500 pages, this can be created free at http://www.sitemapdoc.com/ for example
Yahoo Sitemap file = $125 – Google, Yahoo! and MSN use the same sitemap protocol
Google + Yahoo Sitemap files = $375 – you don’t need two separate sitemap files.
Both Yahoo! and Google provide clear information for webmasters as to what steps are needed to submit a sitemap to Search Engines.
Visit Yahoo! Business http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/smallbusiness/store/promote/sitemap/sitemap-06.html to learn how to submit to both Google and Yahoo!
Google provides clear information about which types of sitemap formats are supported by Google:
and how to submit a sitemap:
In my experience, it takes less than an hour to create and submit a sitemap to both engines. Less savvy webmasters might need more time, but the procedure is simple, especially after reading all Google instructions, which are very clear.
To help MSN and other search engines find your sitemap, simply add this line to your robots.txt file: Sitemap: http://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml
I hope the information above will safeguard you against paying hundreds of dollars to so called SEO companies that are ready to bill you for things you can really do yourself. Also, remember that if your site is built correctly and indexed in the top ten results of Google’s SERPs, you don’t need a Google sitemap.
Other articles you might find useful:
Read Rand’s advice on Google sitemaps for more details on this topic.
Self hosted WordPress users can use this plugin http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/ to generate Google sitemaps for their blogs. WordPress.com users can add to Google sitemaps in other supported formats (see Google links above) as described here.
Blogger.com users can add a sitemap to their blogger blogs by following these steps.
Dave Weiss advises how to create Google sitemaps for TypePad.