Do You Have Your Map To Success?
There are all kinds of maps to online success but this is one map that many people over look.
I’m talking about your website Site Map.
So the question is – Why do you need a site map?
The reason you should have a site map is it helps the search engines during the crawling process and allows them to correctly index your site.
The crawlers (spiders) normally find new pages via links. So think of a site map like a road map that the crawlers will use.
By having a site map the search engines can find your pages faster which reduces the time it takes to index them. Note: Google does not guarantee that a listed page will be indexed.
The site map is also used to double check their link database, which allows them to find other pages that they may have not otherwise seen or found.
Plus you can also give the crawlers addition information about your site by adding metadata, which is descriptive information embedded inside an image or other type of file.
Types Of Site Maps
There are several types of site maps:
Out of all the site maps this is the one you absolutely must have because it’s used by the major search engines – Google, Bing and Yahoo.
There are plenty of site map generators available that will automatically create an XML site map for you.
Here’s a generator you can use for free – XML Sitemaps which will allow you to have your XML site map up and running in 4 simple steps.
If you have videos embedded from YouTube, Vimeo or another video platform it’s best to have a Video Site Map.
If you have videos on your site stored on YouTube or other video platform Google generally will not index them as part of your site.
So when someone does a search and they find one of your videos let’s say on YouTube, they’ll be directed back to YouTube or where the video is stored.
If you have a video site map this will not happen they will be linked back to your site. So why send people back to YouTube when you could be sending them to your site?
Again you can use a video site map generator such as A1 SiteMap Generator – which is a paid program.
Or if you’re like me and you use WordPress here is the plugin I used to generate my video site map for my site for free.
An HTML site map is a map that visitors to your site would use to navigate your website. Many times you’ll find this site map on a separate page with the structure of the site displayed by the way of links.
To create this you simply create a hierarchy of your site – or you can use tools such as SlickMap
HTML and XML is what is usually used as Sitemap formats. Google also accepts RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds.
So you can use the URL of these feeds as the sitemap. The problem with this technique is that older pages may not be included.
Validating Your Site Map
Once you’ve created your site map you need to validate it. You want to make sure it’s working.
You can do that here with this site and you can also do it through your Google Web Master Tools.
Go into your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard, click the link to the site you have the site map, then click Crawl then Sitemaps.
Telling The Search Engines
Now that you have created and validated your site map, you need to let the search engines know about it.
You can let Google know through your Google webmaster tools. Again go into your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard, click the link to the site you have the site map, then click Crawl then Sitemaps.
And with Bing Webmaster Tools. Once in your dashboard click on Configure My Site then Sitemaps. If you haven’t added your site you will need to do that first before you can add a site map.
By adding a site map to your site you’re making sure that important pages or files have not been missed by the crawlers. If you haven’t done this yet make sure to do it right away.
I hope you found this helpful if you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
I believe in you