Every time you read a SEO post on some blogs, they always mention a word Sitemap. So ever wondered what that mystery is? Here I will try to explain what Sitemaps are, how to generate Sitemaps and submit them to search engines.
What are Sitemaps?
Sitemaps are XML files (mostly) which help a webmaster to submit all the pages (Links) available on a website to Search Engines for easier Crawling of your website. Sitemap files contains links to all the pages on your website arranged in a manner to facilitate Search Engines to crawl through your website.
Sitemaps also prioritize the pages based on the frequency of change. For example, The homepage has the highest priority since it is the page that is most likely to change on a dynamic blog.
What are the Advantages of Sitemaps?
- Some areas of your Website may not be visible or accessible via web browsers, these areas are covered in Sitemaps.
- Sitemaps represent the update frequency of your website.
- Webmasters who use Ajax , Flash based contents normally face problem in Indexing this can be overcome with the help of Sitemaps.
- Sitemaps also help readers to navigate the website easily.
What Does a Sitemap File Look Like?
A normal sitemaps file looks like the following:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
How to Generate a Sitemap.
If you are on WordPress you can use a simple WordPress Plugin to generate and maintain your blog’s sitemap. The plugin will take care of adding/removing pages to the sitemap automatically everytime you update the blog.
Step 1. Install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin from the WordPress Plugins Dashboard and Activate it.
Step 2. Visit WordPress Settings > XML Sitemap > Build Sitemap/Rebuild Sitemap.
Now you have successfully generated your Sitemap.
Other Content Management Systems and HTML Sites.
On other content management systems and simple HTML websites, You can create an XML file with the list of all your website pages and upload it to the root of your website.
There is an online tool which helps you generate your sitemaps easily.
Step 1. Visit XML-Sitemaps website.
Step 2. Fill in your homepage address and set the other settings according to the screenshot below.
Step 3. Click on Start and let it generate the sitemap.
Step 4. Now you will be given a range of downloads, Download the XML file and upload it to your root directory.
Submitting Sitemaps to Search Engines.
After you generate the sitemap you need to submit the sitemap to all major search engines for them to discover and crawl through them.
You can submit the Sitemap to the major search engines with these links.
Submitting Sitemap to ASK.com
Step 1. Copy the following link:
Step 2. Replace the yourdomain.com with your sitename.
- Install Google XML Sitemaps and copy your Sitemaps URL eg: HackTabs Sitemap and add the Sitemap Link to your Website Footer. This allows Google and other search engines to directly crawl through your Sitemap.
- Submit your Sitemaps to all major Search Engines.
Enjoy your hard earned Google Indexing and share this article with your webmaster friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.