Sitemaps are an easy way for Bloggers/Webmasters to inform the Search engines about the Webpages on your Blog/Site so that they crawl them more efficiently. Sitemaps are XML files that contain a list containing URLs for a blog or site along with some extra meta-data(when the page was updated, when the page was created, its update frequency etc.) for each URL in the list.
Why to submit Sitemaps to search engines?
Search engines crawlers discover pages from links within the sites or from other sites containing links of your blog. The crawlers are unable to discover the pages that has no links on your site or anywhere. Creating and submitting the sitemap makes your blog pages discoverable to search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
Sitemaps are helpful for the Sites/Blogs that are new, having dynamic content, rich AJAX and images.
However adding sitemaps do not assure that your blog pages will definitely get indexed by search engines. But it is something better than nothing...
How to Create a Sitemap?
Sitemaps are XML files that follow a protocol. The Sitemap protocol consists of XML tags. You can create Sitemaps by a number of Sitemap generators. Some will cost you few bucks or else you can create your sitemap manually if you have a good knowledge about XML(For a detailed tutorial on creating Sitemaps go here). While creating your sitemap make sure that your Sitemap follow some guidelines by google :
Guidelines for Sitemaps
- A Sitemap file can contain no more than 50,000 URLs and must be no larger than 50MB when uncompressed. If your Sitemap is larger than this, break it into several smaller Sitemaps. These limits help ensure that your web server is not overloaded by serving large files to Google.
- If you have more than one Sitemap, you can list them in a Sitemap index file and then submit the Sitemap index file to Google. You don't need to submit each Sitemap file individually.
- Specify all URLs using the same syntax. For instance, if you specify your site location as http://www.example.com/, your URL list should not contain URLs that begin with http://example.com/.
- Do not include session IDs in URLs.
- Your Sitemap file must specify the following XML namespace:xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9".
- The Sitemap URL must be UTF8-encoded, and encoded for readability by the webserver on which it is located.
- If your site is accessible on both the www and non-www versions of your domain, you don’t need to submit a separate Sitemap for each version. However, we recommend picking either the www or the non-www version, and using recommended canonicalization methods to tell Google which version you are using.
- If you’re considering hiring a consultant to help you optimize your Sitemaps, we recommend reading our recommendations on working with Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs). In addition, you should be familiar with our Webmaster Guidelines and our SEO Starter Guide. It can also be useful to check with colleagues with similar sites or businesses.
- A Sitemap file is independent of the language of the content. To make sure that each language version can be crawled and indexed, use unique URLs. These URLs can all be included in your Sitemap files.
Here is a Sample sitemap by sitemaps.org :
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc> <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>0.8</priority> </url> </urlset>
Note: You can also see their example with multiple urls here.
When you have created your XML Sitemap you just have to upload it in the root directory of your site (example : http://yoursite.com/sitemap.xml).
One problem with Blogger Blogs(***.blogspot.com)
Blogger Blog do not allow bloggers to add anything in the root directory. So, you can't add custom sitemaps on blogger blogs. But do not worry blogger blogs already have sitemap (http:***yourblog***.blogspot.com/sitemap.xml) . You just have to add the link of your
sitemap on your blog and submit it on google.
How to submit Sitemap on Google?
Once you have created a sitemap that follow the guidelines and protocols you can submit it to google through the Google webmaster tools
Here are the steps for submitting a Sitemap using Webmaster Tools:
- On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
- On the left-hand menu, click Crawl, and then click Sitemaps. (as shown in fig. below)
- Click the Add/Test Sitemap button.(as shown in fig. below)
- In the text box, complete the path to your Sitemap (for example, if your Sitemap is at http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml, type sitemap.xml).
- Click Submit Sitemap and then click refresh the page.
- You are done.
Having Problems regarding Sitemaps ? Feel Free to contact me through Comment section...