Sitemaps – the how and why

About Sitemaps

SupernovaMedia.caSitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site they might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.

A sitemap tells Googles about about pages on your site they might not otherwise discover.

Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:

  • Your site has dynamic content.
  • Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
  • Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.

Google doesn’t guarantee that we’ll crawl or index all of your URLs. However, we use the data in your Sitemap to learn about your site’s structure, which will allow us to improve our crawler schedule and do a better job crawling your site in the future. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from Sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.”

SiteMap Generator – Simply enter your www url into this generator, select the frequency as ‘monthly’ (unless you positively update your ENTIRE website every week or every day) and generate your XML sitemap. The next time Google crawls your site it will index this sitemap and you have given Google precise instructions on how often to crawl your website. Once you have generated your sitemap, you can change the frequency of individual pages by changing ‘monthly’ to ‘weekly’ or ‘daily’. Only change those pages that you know you update daily (RSS feeds) or weekly. If unsure, always opt for less crawls. When done, upload the xml file to the root of your site.
Once you’ve added the XML file to your site, you may want to consider having a clickable link on your home page to a sitemap you have created. (for easy navigation and  as a way to tell visitors about pages on your site they might not otherwise discover)

Check out our site map here for ideas:

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About Nancy Bain

Our services include building optimized, functional and self managed WordPress websites, Nova Scotia social media training and consulting, interactive full screen high definition virtual tours with lead capture and print advertising. For most of our clients, we are their one stop solution for all things marketing, branding and small business development related.