Google has been quite the buzz lately. First, Google Analytics, then Google Base, and now more stats through Google Sitemaps has been announced. What’s next! They have also announced that you can now signup to Sitemaps without even creating a sitemap. Allowing this means that anyone can now signup to view statistics about their websites. OK, what’s so great about getting statistics from Google Sitemaps? What is great is that you know can see statistics through the eyes of a Googlebot. You can see what search terms are being used to get to your website, if any indexed pages have errors, PageRank information, page analysis (stats on what the bot sees), and a basic rundown of Advanced Search features for tracking pages indexed, referring sites, etc..
Google has made it extremely easy to get these statistics up and running for you. You simply go to Google Sitemaps, add your site if you haven’t already, and then go to the Verify section. Inside of the Verify section, Google will provide you a filename that you simply use to create a blank file. Just open a text-editor, select Save As, and paste in the random charactered filename. Then upload it to your root directly and head on back to Google Sitemaps. Now you just click on the Verify button and you are good to go! That’s all too it.
Don’t expect to see statistics about hits, unique visitors, or anything of that sort. That is not what it is about and you can leave that up to Google Analytics. Google Sitemap stats shows the other important information. The information that is behind the scenes, or in other words, what Google knows about your site that you don’t. I can now see my top search term is “photostamps” and that people click on my site for the query, “meebo” often. I can also see an overview of my PageRank and if my site has caused any trouble for the Googlebot in its scavanger hunt through my site. You can even see what pages searchers are being directed to that have issues, like pages not being found.
I feel that this is definitely a great move by Google and I am more excited about seeing these statistics then I am for stats provided by Google Analytics (maybe that is because I have been waiting over 48 hours though). You may also want to take a look at the rundown of features from Inside Google Sitemaps.