XML Sitemaps

What is a Sitemap?

Now that you have Optimized your Website for the Google Search Engine, let’s talk about XML sitemaps.

A Sitemap is the Dewey Decimal System of your website.  It is an XML file that represents a “Spider friendly” hierarchy of your individual webpage’s URLs.  A Sitemap allows the Google Search Engine Crawlers to “Find all your individual webpages.”

You can also use Sitemaps to provide Google with metadata about specific types of content on your site, including videoimagesmobile, and News.

In addition, the XML File will provide metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

How do you create an XML Sitemap?

You can manually or automatically generate an XML File of your site . Yet regardless of how your generate a map, keep in mind,  the Google Search Engine recommends a sitemap.xml  based on the Sitemap protocol.

If your website is built on a Content Management System (CMS), there are lots of Free Drupal Plugins & free WordPress Plugins.   And if you have access to your server, you can upload the Google Sitemap Generator (Beta)

And remember

  • It’s not for navigation
  • It’s not for internal linking.
  • It’s for the search engine spiders.

How to submit your XML Sitemap in the Google and Bing Search Engines?

While we might consider Google the Yoda of search engines, there are other search engines out there indexing websites, and they make up for 15-20% of search traffic.  So don’t forget to submit your sitemap.xml  to the “little guys” too.

Google Webmaster Tools – The first time you submit a sitemap, you need to add it to your Google Webmaster Tools account. Google’s instructions:

  • Upload your Sitemap to your website into the root directory [filename = sitemap.xml].
  •  Add your site to your Webmaster Tools account.
  • On the Dashboard, click Add next to the site for which you want to add a Sitemap.
  • Type the URL to your Sitemap location in the provided field.
  • Click Submit Sitemap.

 Yahoo Site Explorer – For the most direct way to submit your sitemap to Yahoo, follow these steps:

  • Copy the link to your Sitemap.xml file.
  • Sign in to your Yahoo! account.
  • Enter the URL for your sitemap.xml file in the Submit Site feed field in Yahoo Site Explorer
  • Click Submit Feed.

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