All Major Search Engines Read Sitemaps
A Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a web site along with other additional information such as when a page was updated, how often information usually changes and how important one page is in relationship to another. Search Engines will look for the Sitemap before they start to crawl your site. You need to name your Sitemap sitemap.xml and place it in your root folder. Sltemaps are widely supported by many search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Bing.
How to Create a Sitemap
You can either create your own Sitemap or get it created by your web host, most hosts will generate it for you.
In the control panel for your site you should have a link that will connect you to a Sitemap generator.
- Most hosts ask what you want to include
- You must include the full url and the protocoll which in the example below is http.
- Must include the actual page name.
- The location of the sitemap should be in the root folder if its not only pages in the same folder and lower will be indexed.
- <lastmod> <changefreq> and <priority> are optional but they can affect how often search engine visit your site’s individual pages.
- If you use
<lastmod> you must keep the sitemap up-to-date. The search engine might not crawl your site if it shows that it has not been modified since the last time they visited your site.
- The absolute URL for the page
- the date and time modifications were made to the site
- example: 2010-08-09T07:18:38-07:00
- There seven frequencies:
never, yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, always
- Priority values are relative within your website.
- Valid priority values have range interval
0.0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0
- The most important page in your sitemap should be 1.0
- The priority of other pages in the XML sitemap should decrease as their importance decreases.
The priority assigned to a page will not influence the position of the url in a search engine's results, but search engines use this information when selecting between URLs on the same site so you can use this tag when selecting what you feel are the most important pages within the site.
The following is part of the Sitemap that was created for this site:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9 http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9/sitemap.xsd">