Everyone knows how important the sitemap submission process is. But one of the biggest inherent limitations that a website or blog has is the inability to generate and submit to search engines an updated sitemap each time you make an edit to your website or blog.
Many are not aware of what a sitemap is and what a sitemap submission can do, or how not doing anything with it can hurt you for that matter. If this is your first time reading about the sitemap submission process, I highly recommend you incorporate it in your website building and blogging efforts to realize its advantages.
A SiteMap is exactly what it sounds like. It is a map of your website or blog. It is a long list of URLs, each one unique to a webpage or a blog post. The bigger your website or blog, in other words the more content you have, the bigger or longer your SiteMap is.
There are two kinds of SiteMaps, one is XML and the other is an HTML version. The XML version is a text or XML file (wordpad) that sits on your website or blog’s host / server in the root directory. This version is mainly for the search engines to access so that they can crawl your website.
The HTML version is one that is visible to the human eyes, or your visitors. Many include this in a common space somewhere on their websites or blogs such as the footer area. Others don’t display it at all. The general consensus has always been that as long as you have an XML SiteMap, you don’t need an HTML version. The vice-versa however isn’t the case.
A SiteMap is important because it tells the search engines where to look on your website or blog. Search engines send their spiders or robots to crawl through your website. Often times, these spiders get lost while crawling and are not able to completely scour through your website.
There are many reasons this happens, one of which is a convoluted website or blog code in the background. Regardless, a SiteMap is essential because it provides search engines with every single URL, webpage or blog post on your website or blog.
SiteMaps are particularly important when you have a new website or blog. Search engines like to take their time, sometimes too long before visiting your website, let alone crawling it in its entirety. If search engines haven’t crawled your website, they won’t be able to index the various URLs.
This hurts you because you will not be able to generate the amount of organic search traffic that you would have had all your webpages or blog posts been indexed and showed up in search results. As you can imagine, the larger a website or blog gets, the more challenging it becomes for search engines to capture everything on it. A SiteMap becomes more critical in this case.
The first step is to create a SiteMap. You can use any free service to generate one. Search for “XML Sitemap Generators” on Google and you will find a bunch. It takes 2 minutes to generate one. Just enter your website or blog’s URL and let the system generate one for you.
After you have your SiteMap generated, simply save the file on your server in the root directory in which your website or blog resides. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes to execute, and you will almost instantly be able to reap the benefits of your actions.
To further expedite the process, I recommend submitting your SiteMap file to the three major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing. Each has clear and easy to follow instructions on how you can do so. Google has its Webmaster tools section where you can submit your sitemap file. With Bing, it’s as simple as typing your sitemap’s URL on the Bing browser.
As you can probably imagine at this point, the biggest challenge is to keep up with your SiteMap submission each time your website or blog changes. Each time you add content, your SiteMap needs to be updated or you run the chance of search engines not being able to find you, or find you quickly at least.
The solution is an automatic SiteMap submission process. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task. Of all the programs I have used to build and host websites, SBI is the only one with the capability to execute an automatic sitemap submission on your behalf each time you make a change to your website or blog. This is one of the best features of their service which I have benefited from tremendously over the years.
Not having a SiteMap is detrimental to your online presence. You can’t afford not to so I highly recommend you not only do it today, but also keep up with ongoing sitemap submissions as your website or blog further matures. Better yet, find a tool that can help you with an automatic sitemap submission process so you can stop worrying about it and can focus mainly on creating content for your site.
With regard to HTML sitemaps on your website or blog, because it takes just an extra minute to include one, I make it a point to have one on my niche content websites. Why not? It can’t hurt. But the benefits can be tremendous.
Here is an image of an HTML sitemap link on one of my websites:
Visit the site at www.rotator-cuff-therapy-exercises.com, click on the SiteMap link and see what it looks like.
Here is what the XML version looks like to the human eye. As you can see, it is NOT meant for the human eye. Observe the URL of this page closely. It shows that this file is called “sitemap.xls” and it sits in the root directory or folder where all the other webpages of the site are. This is the file you need for the sitemap submission process.
SiteMaps can definitely help you get more search engine traffic. If you have a blog, there are plugins available that help with an automatic sitemap submission process, but I don’t know how well they work because although I have one programmed into my blog, I can never tell what it does and whether what it is doing is effective.
As for niche websites, I haven’t found anything out there that helps with the automatic sitemap submission process. Site Build It is the only website building tool I have come across that offers this feature as part of its comprehensive suite. This feature is a big reason why all my niche content websites are quickly indexed or listed in search engines, and go on to generate healthy organic traffic.
Do you have a SiteMap? Have you submitted it to search engines? What further questions do you have on this topic after reading this post?
Interesting post. I always thought sitemaps for blogging would be an impossible task. I will have to do this quick becuase i’ve been wanting to for a long time. thanks a lot for sharing!! solving problems for me 🙂 i like it.
Most welcome Tork and welcome to the blog. In fact, implementing dynamic sitemap updates and submissions is easier with a blog. All the best.
Hey Sunil, I never heard of SBI, but for those running WordPress, the Google XML sitemap plugin is real simple and updates your sitemap automatically for each post.
Unfortunately for me, I have one site that is not WordPress and I type up a sitemap in notepad everytime I make changes….I’ll have to do a quick search like you suggest and try to find an automatic XML generator..maybe it will make my life a little easier.
totally Geoff – not only that, but when you create it, you can instruct it to have engines crawl it at the frequency you specify. writing your own sitemap sounds very painful! How large is the site?
The site is only about 30 pages and I only make changes every couple months. I actually just tried out xml-sitemaps.com and it scanned my site and came up with the correct list of files…worked great! I’m going to just use that each time rather than the .txt sitemap file I’ve been using.
Glad it worked out for you Geoff. Come back and update me on any noticeable changes/impact resulting from your actions. I am always interested in learning the effects.
Now a days it is needed to have an automatic traffic generator which will help you to get links and traffic to your website instantly. Facebook and blog comments also help a lot in this. Thanks for the post.
Jack – is / are there specific resources you are referring to? I would caution against using “automatic traffic generators”.
I’ve a sitemap but never used it like you mentioned in the post. I’m going to do it right away and will ask you if I find any problem. 😉
Please do so – would love to hear your feedback.
If you have one but don’t use it like I wrote about – how do you use it then currently?
For WordPress blogs, I use the “WordPress SEO” plugin by Joost de Valk. This plugin has the ability to update your sitemap with every change to your blog, and it will also ping the major search engines when you add new posts.
Thanks for the input. Does one not need the Google SiteMaps plugin if they are using SEO plugin? Is there a particular option / setting that you have to have enabled?
Using Yoast’s “WordPress SEO” plugin makes the “Google SiteMaps” plugin redundant.
When the plugin is installed, a new menu is added in the administrative dashboard, simply titled “SEO.” To set up the sitemap functionality, you choose the XML Sitemap from the sub-menu, click a check box to turn on the sitemap, check which search engines you want to ping, save your settings and you’re done.
Excellent addition, thank you for that. I wonder how that would work with the Thesis theme, which was originally designed with SEO in mind?
A good article – must be followed to take its advantage.
Using a sitemap is certainly beneficial, my only frustration is that while you can submit your site map at any time…. you still have to wait until Google decides to come and crawl your website. Maybe I’m just naturally impatient. lol.
Welcome Gill – that’s a fair frustration. The more your domain ages, providing that you regularly update your website with fresh content, you will notice spiders crawling more often. Initially however it does take some time, and submitting proactively certainly expedites the process.
You have explained the concept of sitemap very nicely.I own couple of script base site , so i will use this site map concept.Thank you.
James, thank you and welcome to the blog. Let me know how it pans out for you. Would love to learn more about your business and long term objectives?
Thanks so much for clarifying this up for me..I never understood it completely and didn’t realize its potential..great info
welcome to the blog Aleshia. looking forward to interacting more