If you haven’t heard of an XML sitemap, you don’t have one or maybe you don’t even know then read on! XML sitemaps are a crucial tool in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) toolbox.
Websites and blogs are often complex, dynamic and changing so major search engines such as Google, Bing, etc. need hints to keep them up to date. Furthermore new website will not easily attract the attention of search engines unless you do something to notify search engines about your website and its content. So what’s the solution? XML Sitemaps!
XML sitemaps contain a structured list of all your website content and additional details such as when pages were modified, how important they are and how often they are updated.
They are a great way for webmaster to tell search engines about all the pages in their website and keep Google and others updated when content changes.
Creating a sitemap is quick and easy with a free online XML Sitemap Generator. Simply enter your website address, choose your settings and sit back and wait. Once completed, you may want to curate or edit your sitemap, but essentially you are ready to upload it to your website.
Having uploaded your XML sitemap it’s highly recommended that you submit it manually to Google Webmaster Tools, Bing, etc. Once you’ve done this with any luck Google and others will come knocking on your websites door very quickly to index your content.
If you make some changes to your content, just update your sitemap, notify google and your content should be indexed quickly and efficiently. XML Sitemap are a great way to build your relationship with search engines and keep them engaged in your website, especially when it is regularly changing and updating.
If you are curious about what sitemap actually looks like you can quickly create your own using the earlier mentioned XML Sitemap Generator. In simple terms it is essentially a structured XML file (a bit like HTML) with particular fields for key metadata about your pages. It is fairly easy to manually edit them, but it’s often better to just use a freely available tool.
Of course if you are using a content management system such asWordPress you will be able to download a plugin that do the job of creating and submitting your sitemap.Content management system plugins willpretty much automate the whole process of creating the sitemap and pinging google every time it updates. The only thing you really need to do is the initial registration with Webmaster Tools. After that it is just a case of adding content to your website.
As well as providing search engines with information about your website, a sitemap registered with Google Webmaster Tools and other equivalents will mean you get lots of useful feedback and statistics about your website.
With XML sitemaps being such a powerful yet simple tool and perhaps most importantly free and easy to maintain, there really is no excuse for not having one and if you don’t, well chances are your SEO may well be suffering.