To a webmaster it is always a big challenge to get the content of website indexed faster by search engines. Indexing of a site depends totally on the search engines. The only thing a webmaster can do is to show the structure of a site, internal/external links, sections, how frequently the site gets updated, etc to search engines. This is where sitemap comes into picture. Sitemaps are best and the easiest way to communicate with search engines, like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Search engines like Google, understands the special xml based sitemaps that is totally different from a HTML based sitemaps which a normal person sees and understands.
Benefits of Having Sitemaps
Sitemaps carry out the structural information of a website and it also provides the option to inform immediately about the changes in a website. For example if “5 articles” have been posted in a day then sitemaps will have the last updated information and it will used by search engines to index the articles. Although sitemaps doesn’t guarantee 100% indexing of website contents. It just acts as a medium of communication between websites and search engines. Having sitemaps can make a differences of contents getting indexed faster compared to not having sitemap.
Google and Bing have their webmaster tools section where the new website owners can submit their sitemaps for indexing. Submission to Yahoo search engine can be done via Bing webmaster tools.
Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft adheres to Sitemap Protocol 0.9 defined by sitemaps.org.
There are plenty of sitemap tools available in internet. The only thing to check is that those generators comply with the Sitemap Protocol 0.9 as defined by sitemap.org.
Some tools generate online sitemaps, while other can be downloaded and installed for sitemap generation. Here I am sharing some good online sitemap generators.
- Online Sitemap Generator from XML-Sitemaps.com. It can generate upto 500 pages of a website.
- For WordPress based blogs there is a good plugin by Arne Brachhold. The plugin can be found in wordpress plugin directory.
And here are some download and install sitemap generators.
- GSiteCrawler, a good tool which generates the simple sitemap file.
- Google Sitemap Generator, this can be installed in the web server to generate sitemaps automatically. This tool is available for both Linux and Windows environment.
Now as you have generated the sitemaps using tools, you need to upload it to your site (if its not there). Then you need to notify the search engines about your sitemap.
To notify the search engines you need to submit your sitemap to different search engines.
- Submit your sitemap to Google with its Webmaster Tools.
- Submit your sitemap to Bingand Yahoo with Bing Webmaster Tools.
Sitemap generation and submission serves to be the basic and important part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
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