How can you verify a Blogspot (Blogger) blog, or some other blog, on Google Sitemaps, if you can't upload files to the blog server? You can't, yet. There's the rub. So, I think we should all hassle Google until we can. Read on...
I've provided a howto before (with a shorter step by step summary on Google Sitemaps) on getting some of the benefits of Google Sitemaps (like being able to ping Google to reindex your blog when you update it), even if you find it hard to create a sitemap or can't upload anything to your blog's server. You just submit the URL of your site feed to Sitemaps (and all blog platforms worth their salt should provide a newsfeed for your blog).
But there are two main gotchas to that, which I've explained in my previous posts:
- Your feed - ideally your feed should be as full as possible, with all the links in your post visible in your feed, especially links to other parts of your blog - and not be just a summary feed or extracts (so you would be well advised to tweak your Blogger feed settings to make sure the Blogger Atom feed is a full feed (a step by step is in my previous post under "Checking your feed"); give the URL of that Atom feed to Sitemaps; but use Feedburner to provide a summary feed to your subscribers (login to Feedburner, click the Optimize tab, then Summary Burner, fill in what you want and Activate it)). Reason: as Google say, "Generally, a syndication feed does not include all URLs, so if you want to use the feed to let Google know about all URLs in your site, you may need to adjust your feed settings. If your feed includes only recent URLs, Google can still use that information to find out about other pages on your site during its normal crawling process by following links inside pages in the feed." (yes, Google can still find other pages, but it's quicker and more efficient if their links are in your feed).
- Verification - to verify your blog on Sitemaps, you have to upload to your blog server a special file created by Sitemaps. But with Blogspot and many other blogging platforms, you're not allowed to upload files to your blog server. So you can't upload a verification file to verify your blog with Sitemaps.
VerificationWhat's the point of "verifying" your blog anyway? Well, verification is not essential if you just want to ping Google to get them to crawl your new posts, but it's A Good Thing if you can have it because it lets you see more detailed Google stats and other info about your site. As Google say:
|If your site is not verified...|
You can view:
|If your site is verified...|
You can view:
Yes, you can still get limited stats for an unverified blog (but you could get that without submitting a sitemap, anyway - I may as well post about that, watch out for one shortly). Yes, you can get far more detailed stats now via the free Google Analytics, which I'm currently testing and will review (with translations into non-marketing jargon!) when I have enough reports for a proper look and comparison with Statcounter. But that's not the point.
Lobby Google, bend their ear!John of Freshblog posted specifically about this problem recently. All Blogspot bloggers, and bloggers on other platforms which don't allow access to their servers other than to post text and images, will I am sure share this view. So, let's do something about it. Let's bend Google's ear until it - well, not breaks, we should after all be peaceful and non-violent, but at least until they listen! The more bloggers who hassle Google about it, the more likely they are to fix this so they can shut us up. If you think that might work, here's what you could do:
- Email Sitemaps feedback to ask for verification for Blogspot (I've filled in the subject line and body for convenience, just change it as you wish!)
- Contact Blogger support, ditto (fill in the Suggest New Feature bit, that's probably better)
- Post in the Google Sitemaps Group saying you want verification for Blogspot blogs (Google claim they read that group, anyway...)
And hopefully if enough of us do this, they'll be more likely to do something about the verification problem for bloggers.
Technorati Tags: Google Sitemaps, sitemaps, feeds, newsfeeds, verification, sitemaps verification, Blogger, Blogger.com, Blogspot.com, Improbulus, A Consuming Experience, Consuming Experience