Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.
Submitting your blog’s sitemap to Google, the world’s king of the search engines, should be your first port of call if you want to get your blog indexed as quickly as possible. However that is not enough. In this post I show you just how easy it is – to submit to big hitting search engines: Google, Ask, Bing( and Yahoo!)
Creating a sitemap
If you have a small site you can use sitemap generators such as that found in www.xml.sitemaps.com. You simply enter your domain name into a Web page and it spiders your site, creating the sitemap as it goes along, up to 500 pages. If your site is bigger you can get the service to install a script on your Web server for a small amount of money. WordPress has a free plugin to create a sitemap automatically:
Type in “Google xml” in Admin page/plugins/new/search box
Install Google sitemap generator from Arne Brachhold.
Once you activate it, navigate to Settings/XML-Sitemap
To generate the site map, select the “Click here” button to create your first sitemap.xml file for your wordpress blog. Once you click that button, find your site map by searching for: www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
Submitting to Google
To submit your sitemap to Google, go to the Webmaster tools website via your Gmail account . As said before, if you do not have one you will need to create it – the good news is that is of course free:
1. Go to www.google.com/webmasters/tools, click the “Add a site”…button and type the URL of your site.
2. You will be asked to prove that the site indeed belongs to you, and will be presented a “Verify ownerships” screen with a “Recommended method” tab and an “Alternative Methods” tab. I suggest the Alternative Method which is quick to do. All you do here is copy the code given to you: in your Word Press, go to Appearance> Editor> Edit themes and Look for this code: </head>
and paste the Google webmaster tool code before that line.
Click “Update file”.
3. Go back to the Google webmaster tool, and click the ‘Verify’ button. Your site should be verified.
Now is the time to submit the sitemap you created.
1. Go to the Webmasters Homepage, find your site and click on its link.
Next, locate the ‘Submit a sitemap’ button. Type your sitemap.xml inside the box. It is important to include the exact location of the sitemap, so if you stored it in your WordPress subfolder you will enter in /wordpress/sitemap.xml. Once you are done, click ‘Submit sitemap’
Do not be alarmed if you are presented with ‘Pending’ – it may take time.
Submitting to Ask.com
All you do is type the following URL into your browser, replacing the Yourdomainname with …your domain name:
You will know when you have done it correctly as you will receive the following notification:
Submitting to Bing.
Submission to Bing is incredibly straightforward. Follow the instructions as shown below and then hit the “submit” button
Bing Webmaster tools are now supporting the Yahoo! Site Explorer community. “Webmasters should now be using the Bing Webmaster Tools to ensure that their websites continue to get high quality organic search traffic from Bing and Yahoo!.”
Since the middle of August 2011, the Bing Webmaster Tools have also been integrating traffic data from Yahoo! into its reports.
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