SEO and Sitemaps –Introductory Guidelines

Way back when the internet was in its infancy SEO companies made a good living by submitting your websites to the several different search engines that dotted the scene. Although that was never a good tactic it did keep SEO companies in business. However, things changes as they always do and today the work of SEOs mainly involves keep your content in good shape, size, and form and getting it indexed by search engines.

As far as crawling goes SEOs try to keep things away from search engines by using meta robots tag and robots.txt. However, URLs and content that is fed to search engines still remains important.

Earlier HTML sitemaps from the footer of site pages allowed search engines to access your site, but then came XML sitemaps which became the preferred choice of search engines. This tool enabled site administrators to inform search engines about the data and hierarchy of the content on a website. It became easier for site administrators to inform search engines when a page was last updated with fresh content.

Let’s see how to create sitemaps for different types of content:

Build a standard XML sitemap

A standard XML sitemap URL entry tells the search engines which areas on your URLs you would like the robots to crawl. There are several CMS systems that generate sitemaps automatically. This is an easy and error free process. In case you do not have a sitemap generation system, you will have to create one manually from scratch. However, you will spend valuable time doing this exercise. The best way is to shop for good sitemap generators and have them do this for you.

Upload and submit your sitemap

The generated sitemap should be placed in root of the relevant page with a relevant name as /sitemap.xml. Once this is done go to Google Webmasters tools and submit the sitemap. Repeat the process with Bing. It is true that Google and Bing can find your sitemap, but it is better you feed them this information.

Identify sitemap errors

Submitting sitemaps does end your work you have to check how search engines are indexing your content. If they are having any problems, you need to address them. The best thing about Webmasters tools is that you can review the content you are withholding from search engines that may be good for you. Check error warnings and rectify them. Any excluded URLs should not be viewed by search engines. Sitemap monitoring is perhaps the most important function of an SEO.

Keep it up

Doing this process does not absolve you of your responsibility. Repeat, clean, and repeat the process. Apart from submitting XML sitemaps also provide search engines with details about the videos, images, news, and other mobile content on your site.

It is a good idea to provide Image XML sitemaps, Video XML sitemaps, News XML sitemaps, and Mobile XML sitemaps to search engines.

Please remember it takes a hell lot of work to create unique and relevant content. Therefore it is prudent that you spend some more time doing all the above steps to ensure all relevant content on your website is indexed by search engines.

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