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What Is A Sitemap?

Definition - Understanding What A Sitemap Is

A sitemap is a graphical representation of the architecture of a web site. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for web design, or a web page that lists the pages on a web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. This helps visitors and search engine bots find pages on the site.

While some developers argue that site index is a more appropriately used term to relay page function, web visitors are used to seeing each term and generally associate both as one and the same.

Benefits of sitemaps

Site maps can improve search engine optimization of a site by making sure that all the pages can be found. This is especially important if a site uses Flash or JavaScript menus that do not include HTML links. Most search engines will only follow a finite number of links from a page, so if a site is very large, the sitemap may be required so that search engines and visitors can access all content on the site.

XML Sitemaps

Google introduced Google Sitemaps so web developers can publish lists of links from across their sites. The basic premise is that some sites have a large number of dynamic pages that are only available through the use of forms and user entries. The sitemap files can then be used to indicate to a web crawler how such pages can be found. Google, MSN and Yahoo now jointly support the Sitemaps protocol. For example, think of a forum that is using dynamic pages. Google would only return less than 100 result without using sitemap. Once a sitemap is provided, there are more than one million pages results. Since MSN, Yahoo, and Google use the same protocol now, having a sitemap would let the three biggest search engines have the updated pages information.

Creating A Sitemap

So you created your website and submitted your URL to Google, Yahoo & MSN. You got your main page indexed but you want to get all your pages indexed in search engine results. It sounds like a complicated process. How am I ever going to get a sitemap for my website. The answer is easy. Creating a sitemap is easy. It’s Much easier than you think. There is a website that will create a sitemap for you very easily. xml-sitemaps.com will create a sitemap in less than 2 min.

I’ve Created A Sitemap Now What?

Once you created a sitemap you simply need to upload it to you root directory. It should be called sitemap.xml. Once you have done that then simply add your sitemap to Google Webmaster tools. I would also submit your sitemap to Yahoo. You will have to create and account with both before you can submit. The only thing you need is an email address. It's easy. So don't make it complicated. Just follow the links and Sign-in. You will have to validate your website by placing a code into your directory but it's worth the time. Just follow the instructions they give. Before you know it you'll have all your pages indexed in the search results.

Make It Easy For Search Engines To Find Your Sitemap

I would also recommend add a line of code to robots.txt file. That way you can make it easier for search engines to find your sitemap. Google, Yahoo, MSN & ASK all except this as a standard. This is the code you will add to your robots.txt file –

Sitemap: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml