University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I've noticed that few Higher Ed web sites are creating a sitemap.xml file.

In my previous life in online news, the creation (and active maintenance) of such a file was a big part of our SEO strategy.

Any thoughts on the topic? Are people not building it because it's not worth the effort, or is it just one of those things you've been meaning to get to?

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Supposedly with good site/link structure, search engines can crawl your whole site without a sitemap. But like human visitors, they do get "bored," so they may not crawl all the pages they know about, if they don't see value in them.
Sitemaps are very much worth it - regardless of how good your site structure is. You should see improvement in webmaster tools in the ratio between the "Total URLs" and "Indexed URLs" as well as an increase in "Total URLs" - stats that are found in WMT under "Sitemaps".

With modern content management systems having plug-ins or modules that automatically add files to your sitemap xml file there's really no excuse not to have one. Also you can put in your robots.txt file the line Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml [obviously using the correct URL] and Yahoo and MSN will pick it up.
We weren't generating sitemap xml's before I arrived here. We immediately started doing so and it is fundamental to our strategy. I still think it's a matter of not knowing to do so, or like you mentioned that it's not worth the effort because most university sites are quite large. For that group, automated tools are the key.

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