SEO – Day 3 – Using the Sitemap.xml

by Christi on April 22, 2009

Are you using the sitemap.xml file in your websites? Google and other search engines now look for this file and use it to catalog your website.The Sitemap Protocol allows you to inform search engines about URLs on your websites that are available for crawling. It enables webmasters to include additional information about each URL (when it was last updated; how often it changes; how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

Google says, “Sitemaps are particularly beneficial when users can’t reach all areas of a website through a browseable interface. (Generally, this is when users are unable to reach certain pages or regions of a site by following links). For example, any site where certain pages are only accessible via a search form would benefit from creating a Sitemap and submitting it to search engines.”

Using this protocol does not guarantee that your webpages will be included in search indexes. (Note that using this protocol will not influence the way your pages are ranked by Google.) With a sitemap, you can give each of your pages a priority between .1 and .9. Google uses this priority to break ties between two equal scoring pages on your site. This could be the difference between someone seeing your “thank you” page or your “home page”. Again, the value you assign does not effect the pagerank Google assigns to your pages.

Google does have a sitemap generator you can use by clicking sitemap generator.

To learn more about the sitemap.xml file, go to sitemaps.org and Google Webmaster Tools.

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