Google Sitemaps Explained - How To Use Google Sitemaps

Three Ways To Index Your Site With Google Sitemaps [Difficult, Hard, And Easy]

Google has recently implemented a program where any webmaster can create a Sitemap of their Site and submit it for indexing by Google. It is a quick and easy way for you to keep your site constantly indexed and updated in Google.

The program is appropriately called Google Sitemaps.

In order for you to best use Sitemaps, you must have an XML generated file on your site that will transmit or send any updates, changes, and data to Google. XML (Extensible Markup Language)is everywhere these days, you have probably seen the orange XML logo on many web sites and its often associated with Blogging because Blogs use XML/RSS feeds to syndicate their content.

Today RSS is known mostly as 'Really Simple Syndication' but its original acronym stood for 'Rich Site Summary'. XML is only simple code like HTML and it is used to syndicate your content to all interested parties.

And the interested party in this case is Google. By creating Sitemaps Google is really asking webmasters to take charge of the indexing and updating of their sites. Basically, doing the Googlebot's job!

This is a 'Good' thing! With the steady influx of new web sites growing rapidly, indexing all this material will become a challenge, even with the resources of Google. With Sitemaps, websmasters can now take charge and make sure their site is crawled and indexed.

Please note, indexing your site with Sitemaps WON'T improve your rankings in Google. You will still be competing with the other sites in Google for top positions. But with Sitemaps you can make sure all your pages are crawled and indexed quickly by Google.

There are some other big advantages of using Google's Sitemaps -- mainly you have control over a few key variables, attributes or tags. To explain this as simply as possible, your XML powered sitemap file will have this simple code for each page of your site:

< url>

< loc>http://www.yoursite.com/< / loc>

< priority>1.0< /priority>

< lastmod>2005-07-03T16:18:09+00:00< /lastmod>

< changefreq>daily< /changefreq> < /url>

Along with 'urlset' tags at the beginning and end of your code, and an XML version indication - that's basically your XML file! File size will depend on the number of webpages you have.

Taking a closer look at this XML file:

location http://www.yoursite.com -- name of your webpage

priority you set the priority you want Google to place on that page in your site. You can prioritize your pages: 0.0 being the least, 1.0 being the highest, 0.5 is in the middle. This is ONLY relative to your site. It will not affect your rankings. Why is this important? You have certain pages on your site that are more important than others, (home page, high profit page, opt-in page, etc.) by placing high priority on these pages, you will increase their importance in Google.

last modified when you last modified that page, this timestamp allows crawlers to avoid recrawling pages that haven't changed.

change frequency you can tell Google how often you change that particular page. Never, weekly, daily, hourly, and so on -- if you frequently update your page this could be extremely important.

Why do I need a XML Generator?

In order for this XML sitemap file on your site to be constantly updated, you need a Generator that will spider your site, list all the urls and automatically feed them to Google. Thus constantly updating your site in Google's massive index or database. Keep in mind, Google also gives you the option of submitting a simple text file with all your URLs.

Now there is already a flood of these generators popping up! Different ways of generating your XML powered sitemap file. More are probably appearing as you read this. But lets look at Three ways to generate your XML file.

Difficult Google's Python Generator

That's a relative term, if you know your server like the back of your hand and installing scripts doesn't scare the bejesus out of you, you're probably smiling at the word difficult. Google supplies a link to a generator which you can download and set up on your server. It will cough up your sitemap XML file and automatically feed it to Google. Google XML Generator

In order for this Generator to work, Python version 2.2 must be installed on your web server, many servers don't have this. If you know what you're doing, this will probably be a good choice.

You don't need a Google Account to use Sitemaps but it's encouraged because you can track your sitemap's progress and view diagnostic information. If you already have another Google Account gmail, Google Alerts, etc. just use that one to sign in and follow directions from there.

To submit your Sitemap using an HTTP request, issue your request to the following URL:

www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=sitemap_url

Hard A PHP Code Generator

This is a php generator that you can place on your server. This generator will spider your site, and produce your XML sitemap file. Download the phpSitemapNG and upload it your server. Run the generator to get your XML sitemap file and send it to Google. PHP Generator

Again, this is only hard to do if you don't know your way around PHP files or scripts.

Easy Free Online Generator

These Generators are popping up everywhere, and Google now keeps a list of these 'third party suppliers' of generators on their site. Find them here: Google's List of Third Party Generators

One of the easiest to use is www.xml-sitemaps.com, and you can index up to 500 pages with this online Generator very quickly and it will give you the sitemap XML file Google needs to index your site.

It will go into your site, spider it and index all your pages into an XML sitemap of your site. You can download this file, Compressed or Non- compressed and make minor changes such as setting the priority, changing frequency, etc.

Then upload this file to your site as sitemap.xml to the root directory of your server i.e. where you have your homepage. Then notify Google Sitemaps of your XML file and you're in business.

Of course, the only drawback, if you constantly add pages to your site you will need to also add these pages to your XML sitemap file. This won't be much of a problem unless you're daily adding pages to your site -- then you will need something like the PHP or Python generator to do all this for you automatically.

Google is still the major search engine on the web so getting your pages indexed and updated quickly is the major reason to use Google Sitemaps. If you want your site to remain competitive it's probably the wisest route to take.

To learn more about the different Services and Programs offered
by Google click here: Google Adsense & Google Adwords

Copyright © 2005 Titus Hoskins of http://www.bizwaremagic.com

This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

In The News:

Top Tips to Improve Your Website SEO  Business 2 Community
Stock Photography Impact on SEO  Search Engine Journal
What Is Enterprise SEO?  Search Engine Journal
How to Show the Value of Local SEO  Search Engine Journal
SEO Cuts Trading Fees  Financial Tribune
SEO in 2020: Going Beyond Google  Search Engine Journal
SEO How-to, Part 1: Why Use It?  Practical Ecommerce
5 Ways SEO & Web Design Go Together  Search Engine Journal
Google's Advice on How to Hire an SEO  Search Engine Journal
Can SEO Be Made Predictable?  Search Engine Journal

The Google Sitemap For Idiots

I don't mind admitting that every time some new fangled... Read More

Black Hat SEO and the Sneaky Redirect

Are shades of grey SEO really Black Hat SEO?Black hat... Read More

Anatomy Of A Top Ranking Web page

Optimizing web pages for high rankings in the search engines... Read More

Great Site Ranking in Google The Secrets Out

How many years did you register your domain name for?... Read More

Building Link Popularity with Topical Articles

One of the important factors in ranking high in search... Read More

Determining the Value of Your SEO Service

Every once in a while--and probably more often than we... Read More

Google Website and Web Page Indexing for Dummies

You may have heard how important it is to have... Read More

The Purpose of PageRank?

I am sure the first thought provoking question that popped... Read More

Search Engine Traffic Myths, Time Wasters, and Pitfalls

Everyone wants to increase their rankings with the search engines... Read More

Yahoo Listing Still Worth It?

In October 2002, the Yahoo! portal changed the way it... Read More

Organic SEO: Patience For Long Term Ranking Results

When does long term SEO show ranking results? It takes... Read More

Torpedo and Sink the Ship SS Search Engine Ranking

I was recently contacted by one of my best clients... Read More

SEO Trade Secrets - 8 Great Tools for Search Engine Optimization

About 80% of website traffic comes through search engines. And... Read More

Optimizing For Visitors Not Search Engines

Most people feel that optimizing is to target the search... Read More

Submit All Of Your Pages And Watch Your Traffic Grow

Everyone is looking for "secrets" about how to get more... Read More

The Reality of Search Engine Submissions

Over the last few months, search engine submissions have changed... Read More

Five Short Quick Tips on Web Page Titles

By Catherine FranzSearch engine spiders read and record page titles... Read More

Marketing to Search Engines AND Humans

When you were just a young and precocious student of... Read More

Are Your Keywords Making Money for You?

I built my website, it's perfect. My chosen subject of... Read More

Reciprocal Link Exchange Management Software

When shopping online for Link Management Software that can... Read More

Do You Have a Bad SEO Company, or Are You Just a Bad Client?

I admit it, our SEO services are pretty bad.Speaking of... Read More

Top Ten Listing? Hmmmmmmmm

This is my question...I spend a fortune on SEO and... Read More

Basic Search Engine Promotion

I can't tell you how many times people have asked... Read More

Search Engine Optimization: What Is It?

Search Engine Optimization is the creation of a web page,... Read More

The Other Side of the Search Gods Abracadabra!

Thousands of servers ...billions of web pages.... the possibility of... Read More