Boost Visiblity with a Sitemap

Folded mapWill Google index a site if it has no Sitemap? Yes. So why bother creating one? It ensures that Google crawls each page and indexes them. It says, “Hey, Google! Look over here!” And this is useful for those pages or URLs that Google might otherwise miss.  Sitemaps also provide invaluable information on dynamic content so the search engine can properly index it. Building a Sitemap for your site is definitely worth your time – now, how do you start?

With the basics, of course! Let’s look at a sample Sitemap:

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

<url>

<loc>http://www.seoisawesome.com/</loc>

<lastmod>2013-06-09</lastmod>

<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>

<priority>0.8</priority>

</url>

<url>

<loc>http://www.seoisawesome.com/about-us.php</loc>

<lastmod>2012-05-11</lastmod>

<changefreq>yearly</changefreq>

<priority>0.4</priority>

</url>

</urlset>

 

What does all of this mean? The first tags we’ll note are required, the bookends:

 

<urlset> and </urlset>

 

These are required tags that indicate where your Sitemap starts and where it ends. Notice the first is open and the second closed. Start, finish. It is very clear to Google where your page starts and stops.

 

Next, you’ll see:

 

<url> and </url>

 

Notice again that the first is open and the second closed. This is where you list each individual page of your site. In our example, we have the Home and About Us pages. The last required tags are:

 

<loc> and </loc>

 

As you might guess, this refers to the location. This points Google (or other search engines) to the pages’ URL locations. These need to be in place or the Sitemap is useless.

 

We have implemented other tags in our example, though these are not strictly necessary to Google. They do, however, provide extra details that can help search engines index your site properly. These include:

 

  • <lastmod> When was  the page last changed? (Remember, Google wants fresh content.)
  • <changefreq> This tells the crawlers how often is a page changed or modified. You may choose from: always, never, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
  • <priority> This is a subjective measure of how important you think a particular page is to crawlers. The default is 0.5 (range is 0.0 1.0).

 

Sitemaps contain the vital information bots need to crawl and index your site properly. With them, you increase your visibility and makes new content easier to find (and return to searchers). Whether you generate manually or via an online tool, make sure you have a Sitemap in place today.

 

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