Website Optimization – Gooogle Sitemap

By Gert Visagie 23 November 2009

Sitemaps- you read the term on every optimization website out there but still wonder how they can help your website.

First, let us start with the easy stuff. What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is a map of your site is a file generated to help the Google bot find and index your pages.  It allows Google to view the size of your web site, and what changes you have made. The results, faster page indexing and catch file update. In laments terms it just makes your website easier to brows.

Secondly, how do I create a Sitemap?

You will find a wide variety of sitemap generators online, but most are limited to 500 pages. Some free software versions however allow you to create sitemaps of over 500 pages like G site crawler. The hardest option (but fun if you like typing out the code yourself) is using RSS or XML.

The Google webmaster guidelines recommend that you use multiple sitemaps for large websites with over 500 pages.  

Tips:

  • Make sure to set pages Google should not index to No-follow either in their Meta tags or in the robots.txt file.
  • If generating a sitemap check if all your links are working with the W3 link checker to ensure all your pages are listed in your sitemap
  • Upload your sitemap to your website through FTP and place it in your root directory. 

Third and last on the list you need to let Google know about your sitemap

There is only one way to do this and that is by using the Google webmaster tools. If you are not using the tool, I recommend registering today. The Google webmaster tools give you an overview of your site. http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps

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