Sitemap XML File
The Sitemap protocol provides an automatic way to tell Google and Bing about new or edited pages on your site.
Bing provides the results for Yahoo!, which it then customizes for its results pages.
SBI! creates a sitemap file for your site. This is an XML file, in the Sitemaps.org protocol format, that contains information about the pages and images on your site. This file is updated if you add, delete or edit a page on your site.
SBI! automatically pings Google and Bing once per day (if you've published or edited a page) or immediately if you deleted a page, alerting them to changes on your site. This tells the SE spiders to "come and get" all your pages and update their indexes with your site's new information.
Before SBI! can start, you need to submit your site, verify ownership of your site at Google and Bing, and then submit your sitemap. If you haven't already done that, use Verify It! to verify your ownership.
You can also increase the priority of certain pages in the sitemap XML file to tell the search engines that those pages are more important, relative to all the other pages on your site. Click here for more information.
Why Is the Sitemap Important?
The sooner the SEs know about your pages, the sooner they come and spider them. The sitemap file alone doesn't guarantee that the spiders will come sooner or often, though. That's why SBI! pings the engines regularly.
The sitemap file does not guarantee that the engines will index all your pages. Nor will it influence rankings for your keywords at any of the SEs. High rankings depend on the delivery of great content pages with properly positioned keywords.
Once you start your site (by building your home page), SBI! creates and installs your sitemap file. The file's name is sitemap.xml.
If you started your site before April, 2012, your sitemap file name is not sitemap.xml. Go to the top of Search Engine HQ for the URL of your sitemap file.
What do you have to do to get the ball rolling? Let Google and Bing know about it. You don't need to wait until you have a certain number of pages. In fact, the sooner you do it, the sooner the engines will know about your site!
Google also has a video sitemap option. If you use a lot of your own videos on your site, you'll want to create a video sitemap as well. See Google's help regarding this...
Submit Your Sitemap File to Google
If you submit your sitemap URL after building only your home page, you may receive an error message stating that your file is missing an XML tag. If that happens, and for Google only, submit your sitemap URL after building your first Tier 2 page.
- Log into Google Webmaster Tools.
- On the Home page, click on your domain name. On the Dashboard page, click on the tab that says Sitemaps.
- On the next page, click on the red Add/Test Sitemap button.
- Type sitemap.xml into the text box. Click on Submit Sitemap.
Log into Google Webmaster Tools. On the Home page, click on your domain name. You're then taken to the Dashboard page. click on the Sitemaps tab.
Click on the red button that says Add/Test Sitemap.
In the text box, type in sitemap.xml.
Click on Submit Sitemap to submit it.
On the next page, Google will confirm that you submitted your sitemap successfully. Back on the Home page, you'll see your sitemap's file name.
That's it. You're done at Google. SBI! will now take over, letting Google know whenever you make changes to your site.
Submit Your Sitemap File to Bing
- Log in to Bing Webmaster Tools.
- On the dashboard, in the Sitemaps section, click on Submit a Sitemap.
- In the text box, type in sitemap.xml.
- Paste it into the text box. Click Submit.
The process is basically the same for Bing as it is for Google. Paste the URL for the sitemap file into the text box in the Sitemaps section.