Guide to Building a Google Sitemap
The Google Sitemap is a powerful tool for promoting your website and ensuring accurate and complete inclusion in Google search results.
The Internet and everything related to it, especially marketing and promotion, is a nesting egg of increasing complexity. The more you dig into it, the more you discover. Many people who have launched their own websites have experienced this: First you think just creating a simple web page and successfully hosting it on the Web is the end-all and be-all of Internet knowledge. Then you discover that you need to be indexed by search engines. Then you discover the concepts of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). And on and on, until you finally arrive at what is, for the moment, the Emerald City of Internet promotion: Google Sitemaps.
Google Sitemaps are a bit confusing at first, but quickly clarify and once you grasp the basics it’s actually a very sensible way to promote your website and ensure you show up in Google’s search listings. And let’s face it: There are other search engines, and you should try to be included in all of them, but the one that really matters, at least for the time being, is Google.
Whether you’re website has to do with translation services like mine or some other subject or industry, the Google Sitemap works the same way.
Without a sitemap, Google send out robots on the Web that ‛spider’ or ‛crawl’ your site, collecting information about links in and out based on automated scripts. They’re pretty effective, but you don’t have any control over the results, and robots are never perfect. The Google Sitemap option allows you to actually have some control over how your site is indexed, and also allows you to ensure that your site is completely indexed. If you employ a Google Sitemap, you can make certain every single page is included in search results.
How it Works
A Google Sitemap is an XML file containing a listing of every page in your website along with information telling Google how often the page changes, and the priority you put on it for re-indexing. It’s generally in the format
Let’s translate that for you: The first line is a page on your website, obviously. The second line is the date of creation for the site. The third line tells Google how often you think the page should be re-indexed (how often you plan to change content there; your choices are always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and never). The fourth line assigns importance to the page; it can be anywhere from 0.0 to 1.0. If you don’t offer any number there Google will default to 0.5.
Google limits the number of pages in a sitemap to 50,000; that might seem incredibly high to you if your site, like mine, is simple. But for some corporations that’s not enough, so you can also create sitemap index files that allow you have up to 1,000 sitemaps, or fifty million URLs. That ought to be enough, right?
The Google Sitemap is a great tool for controlling your search destiny, and I recommend every online business use it!
Image courtesy websitedesign4seo.com
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