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If you own a website, you have probably heard about Sitemaps. Typically, Sitemaps were used mainly to direct your human visitors to the pages of your website and were typically formatted in html. Today, Sitemaps are used to get search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to crawl your website better to ensure that all your pages and content is counted, which is important for your search engine optimization and ranking efforts and it is formatted in XML. While the acronyms are not important, the roles it plays are.
You allow Search Engine Crawlers such as Google to locate the pages that are present on your website as well as the ones that has been recently updated, allowing them to crawl and re-index your website accordingly.
As the size of websites increases either by adding additional pages, more products or a blog, it becomes more difficult for Search Engines to locate your pages without a Sitemap often leading to them missing your information as your website is crawled, an XML Sitemap eliminates this challenge.
An XML Sitemap also allows Search Engines to make more accurate rankings and searches by providing all your website data in one, easily accessible location on your website.
An XML Sitemap also summarizes the frequency of your website updates and records any changes that have been made by date and time.
Creating an XML Sitemap for your website design is very simple. However, if you don’t know how to add codes or upload files to your website, it can be challenging and it will request the assistance of a professional.
1. Go to http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
2. Enter your website address in the box below without the www. For ex http://yourwebsiteaddress.com and then hit start.
3. Wait for the results to generate You will get several different file formats
4. Take the files that are XML Compressed and add it to the public folder on your website server
5. Once you have added it to your website Folder go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/ and sign in, if you don’t have a Google Account you can sign in.
6. Once you sign in you would need to ensure that your website is verified, so enter your website address and copy and paste the code into your website homepage.
7. Once your website is verified, click on submit a sitemap, enter the website url eg. http://yourwebsiteaddress.com/sitemap.xml and then click submit
8. Once it’s accepted you are done.
Because of the important role the XML Sitemap plays in Search Engines results and rankings it is increasingly becoming a standard feature during website design and development. Therefore, it is in your best interest to add an XML Sitemap to your website in order to keep the Search Engines Informed, avoid not getting your pages indexed, and keep them coming back to re-index your changes.