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Google employee explains how they use sitemaps and how we can benefit from them | Hacker News
A Sitemap file helps search engines to discover new and updated URLs on your website. In particular, if your website is fairly large, then this can help them to be able to focus on the new & updated content, instead of having to blindly crawl through everything to see if anything has changed. That can result in new content being found much faster, which can be quite noticeable especially if the site is larger or more complex.

With Google in particular (I work at Google; I don't know how other search engines handle these), it also does the following:

optimization  website  search  engine  SEO  google  sitemap.xml  sitemaps  sitemap  hackernews 
june 2012 by guiambros

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