Google Sitemaps is a simple and fast way for your site to be constantly indexed and updated by Google.
This article will discuss the benefits of implementing this new technology, who should use it, how it works and how to create a Google Sitemap for your web site.
Benefits of having a Google Site Map
1. Speeds up the discovery and addition of your web pages in the Google index.
2. Enables Google to quickly find web pages that have been recently changed.
3. A method for your site to be listed and appear quickly in Google.
4. Helps Google to keep search content fresh, so people have the most up to date information available.
Who should use Google Sitemaps?
All site owners can use Google sitemaps whether you have one page or millions of pages, however it’s mostly geared towards people that make frequent changes to their web pages.
Normally web pages on a large site will not all get indexed because the links are too deep within the site. By including all your pages in the Google Sitemap you have a better chance of them all being indexed as Google thrives on fresh content. According to Google, it won’t increase your site’s rankings.
How does it work?
Google sitemaps are created using XML (Extensible Markup Language). This is a coding language similar to HTML(though a little more complex). It is often used these days in syndicated feeds or blogs.
Here is the sample XML code you would include for each page of your site:
Here is a breakdown of what each line represents:
location – name of your webpage ie http://www.yoursite.com
last modified – when you last modified the page.
change frequency – tells Google how often you modify that particular page, whether it’s never, weekly, daily, hourly, monthly or yearly.
priority – sets the priority you want Google to place for that page on 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. Certain pages on your site may have more significance than others because they are updated more often ie home page, articles page.
How to Create a Dynamic Google SiteMap XML File
It would take a long time to create your Google Sitemap by hand especially if you have a site that contains 1000s of pages.
Fortunately Google provides the Sitemap Generator that allows you to generate a sitemap very quickly. It’s a Python script that creates a Sitemap for your site using the Sitemap Protocol. This script can create Sitemaps from URL lists, web server directories, or from access logs.
You can read more about it here:
Other Sitemap Generators.
Google has also compiled a list of third party generators.
Personally I use the free sitemap generator. It’s simple to use and quickly produces the necessary XML code for your site.
Here are the steps on how to create your Sitemap using this free Sitemap Generator:
1. Go to http://www.sitemapspal.com and enter your site’s address.
2. Copy the code that it generates for your site and paste it into notepad.
3. Save the text file as sitemap.xml
4. Upload this file to the root directory (same place as your home page) of your web server.
5. Open up a Google Site Map account and submit your site’s address.
6. Every time you modify a page or pages, login to your Google account and click on the resubmit button.
7. Repeat this procedure for all of your web sites.
Google is still the largest and most accessed search engine on Net. Each year millions of web sites get added to Google making your site harder to find. Creating a Google Sitemap will help your web pages stay fresh in Google’s index.