In our last post, we showcased the importance of having quality web content and natural keywords on your website as a major first step in getting your website indexed. This next step will help speed up the process a little.
Search engine spiders tend to index pages and links on a website at random. The front page of the site may not get indexed right away, but your “Contact Us” might suddenly show up on Page One of Google. (Not necessarily a bad thing, by the way). This means the “Contact Us” page got indexed before anything else.
To greatly increase your chances of getting almost every page indexed or “spidered” by search engines, including Google, a sitemap.xml file needs to be placed in your Website Root directory. This is a very easy file to create; the file itself is basically a list of all your website pages and links. Once the sitemap.xml file is indexed, the search engine spiders have easier access to index just about everything on your site in a snap.
If you’re new to the concept of sitemaps (and don’t feel bad; a lot of people have never heard of them), think about the last time you visited a large shopping mall with tons of shops. If you’ve ever looked for a particular store in the mall without looking at the Mall Directory first, you know it’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world.
On the other hand, by looking at the Mall Directory, not only do you now know where the store you’re looking for is located, but you might also see other interesting stores you may not have known about otherwise. Sitemaps are very similar in this concept, only instead of a mall, it’s the directory for your website.
Creating a sitemap.xml file from scratch, while simple, can be kind of labor intensive if you’re typing everything out line by line. Great typing practice, but that’s about it. Luckily, there are helpful and free tools online that will create the sitemap.xml file for your website, ready to upload and use.
We actually have a personal online favorite that we recommend. This free sitemap generator will not only create the sitemap for your website, but your site will also get submitted for indexing to Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines. Just click on the words, “Sitemap Generator“, to create your sitemap.xml file and get your website submitted!
Also, if you’re still unsure as to how to use your shiny new sitemap.xml file on your website, all you need to do is to upload the file into your website’s parent directory, the same directory where the main page of your website is hosted. Then your site’s ready to be indexed!
The company that is nice enough to create this excellent sitemap generator will also help with any questions you might have as well.
More pages being easier to index by search engines on your site will also bring better search engine results as well. Indexing will still take some time to accomplish, but now we’re talking in terms of days or weeks, not months. This method will also go a long way towards adding value to your site as well.
Next post, we’ll cover some more cool things you can do online to boost your website’s visibility.
Cheers and Happy Indexing!
Paul G. (Your SEO Guy)