What is a xml sitemap and do I need one to ‘seo’ my site for Google?
(The XML Sitemap protocol) has wide adoption, including support from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft
No. You do not need a XML Sitemap to optimise a site for Google, again, if you have a sensible navigation system.
A XML Sitemap is a method by which you can help a search engine, including Google, find & index all the pages on your site. Sometimes useful for very large sites, perhaps if the content chases often, but still not necessary if you have a good navigation system.
- Make sure all your pages link to at least one other in your site
- Link to your important pages often, with varying anchor text, in the navigation and in page text content
Remember Google needs links to find all the pages on your site.
Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
I don’t use xml sitemaps that much at all, as I am confident I can get all my pages indexed via links on the website and via RSS feed if I am blogging. I would however suggest you use a ‘website’ sitemap – a list of the important pages on your site.
Some CMS can auto-generate xml sitemaps, and Google does ask you submit a site map in webmaster tools, but I still don’t. If you want to find out more go to http://www.sitemaps.org/
I prefer to manually define my important pages by links, and ‘old – style’ getting my pages indexed via links from other websites. I also recognise not all websites are the same.
You can make a xml site online at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ if you decide they are for you.
I’m certainly no authority on sitemaps – perhaps anyone else with any experience of them can add something…?