Insurance Policy for your Blog and Website: XML Sitemap

Insurance Policy for your Blog and Website: XML Sitemap

Sitemaps help search engine bots

For the new blogger and website owner, SEO (search engine optimization) can often be a daunting endeavor. As a SEO tactic, building and submitting a Sitemap, is relatively painless and can help your site get noticed by search engines.

According to Google,

…we use the data in your Sitemap to learn about your site’s structure, which will allow us to improve our crawler schedule and do a better job crawling your site in the future. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from Sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.

Sitemaps are basically a list of all the pages on your site. Search engine bots, like the Googlebot, crawl sites by following links from one page to another. If your site does not have many other links on the web and/or is relatively new, search engines could find your site difficult to discover. Especially in cases like these, and almost always otherwise, a Sitemap is a great insurance plan to let search engines learn more about your site.

It’s important to know, however, that there is no guarantee that all links will be crawled, and being crawled does not guarantee indexing.

Read what else Google has to say, here. Another informative post on SEOboy.com provides details on crawling and indexing

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is the preferred way to create sitemaps for all major search engines. Plugins, modules and other automatic sitemap generators can help you create the required XML sitemaps with just a click or two, in most cases.

 

For WordPress:

I use ‘Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator’ for WordPress. Install the plugin from the ‘PlugIn’ option on your wordpress admin dashboard

The settings are pretty self-explanatory.

For Joomla:

I use the popular Xmap Component. Install the component and you are pretty much set.

Online XML Sitemap Generator

If you are unable to use the above options, you can also submit your site’s URL to http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ (among others) and have a XML Sitemap generated for you. You then have to download the generated Sitemap.xml file and upload it to the server hosting your domain.

 

After creating a Sitemap.xml, you can either wait for search engines to find your site (and Sitemap) or be proactive about it by submitting your Sitemap directly to search engines. I like telling major search engines about the sites I help build, instead of waiting for them to find out.

Submit Sitemap to Google

    1. Sign in to your Google account to access Google Webmaster Tools
    2. Enter the URL for your site in the Add Site field (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com)
    3. Click OK. You will now have to verify your site. Authentication of your site will give you access to a lot of great information on your site statistics
    4. Go Back to WordPress or Joomla to Copy the link to your Sitemap file:
      WordPress: Settings> XML-Sitemap

      WordPress URL for XML plugin

      Joomla: Components> Xmap

  1. In Google Webmaster tools, click on link to your site (from step 1,2,3 above) and on the left hand side dashboard, Click Site Configuration > Submit a Sitemap
  2. Paste the URL to your Sitemap.xml file
  3. Click Submit Sitemap

Submit Sitemap to Bing

  1. Sign into Bing Webmasters Tools
  2. Enter the URL for your site in the Add Site field (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com)
  3. Click OK. You will now have to verify your site
  4. In WordPress or Joomla, Copy the URL to your Sitemap (see step 4 above, of ‘Submit your Sitemap to Google’)
  5. In Bing Webmasters Tools, Click on your site name and Crawl (Tab) >Sitemaps (on the left side)
  6. Click Add Sitemap
  7. Paste URL and Click Submit

Submit Sitemap to Yahoo!

  1. Sign in to ‘Yahoo Site Explorer’ with your Yahoo! account.
  2. Enter the URL for your Sitemap.xml (see earlier lines on how to find URL in WordPress and Joomla) in the Submit Site feed field (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com)
  3. Click Submit Feed

That’s it!

Obviously, Sitemaps are just a small part of what you can do to promote your site. The most efficient way to get social mentions and a high ranking on search engines is to provide great content.

Have you implemented an XML Sitemap for your blog or you plan to? Anything else to add?

Written by Jacob Varghese (13 Posts)

I help my clients with digital strategies that grow their business. My digital marketing campaigns leverage appropriate technology choices, targeted communication methodologies and metrics driven marketing tactics (SEO, SEM, Social media outreach etc) to amplify brand/product messages, build brand/product-centric communities, establish partner relations and accelerate customer acquisition. For more visit: Digital Marketing Consultant, Ottawa, Canada.



About Author

Jacob Varghese

I help my clients with digital strategies that grow their business. My digital marketing campaigns leverage appropriate technology choices, targeted communication methodologies and metrics driven marketing tactics (SEO, SEM, Social media outreach etc) to amplify brand/product messages, build brand/product-centric communities, establish partner relations and accelerate customer acquisition. For more visit: Digital Marketing Consultant, Ottawa, Canada.

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