HTML & XML Sitemaps
There are two different types of site maps: xml and html sitemaps. In 2005, Google introduced the xml sitemap. This page serves the search engines and is a list of all of the site’s pages.
How do you create a xml sitemap? If your site is built on a WordPress platform, there are several plugins you can use that will create sitemaps for you. If you need to create the sitemap yourself, checkout xml-sitemaps.com, a free sitemap generator tool.
There are different types of xml sitemaps you can create, depending on your site and the type of content it contains:
- Basic web pages
- Image sitemaps
- Video sitemaps
- News sitemaps
Add the Sitemap Info to Your Robots.txt File
It’s a good idea to reference your sitemap in your robots.txt file (typically located in your site’s root folder) by adding the following code:
Submit the Sitemap to Google
Go to Google Webmaster Central at http://www.google.com/webmasters. If you don’t have a Google account, create one. If you do, login and click on “Add a site”, and enter the URL of your web site.
Google will ask you to verify you are the owner of the site. You can do this by uploading a file Google provides to the root of your site, where your home page resides. Once the site has been uploaded, click on “Verify”.
Once verified, click on the website you just added and choose “Sitemaps” > “Submit a Sitemap” button. Enter in the sitemap.xml file name.
It will take a few days to update all of the web site’s info. Check back and Google will provide you with all sorts of useful details about yours site. You’ll be able to see the number of pages Google has indexed, monitor the health of your site by viewing “crawl” stats and errors, blocked URLs, and more.
Submit the Sitemap to Bing
To submit your website’s sitemap to Bing, go to http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster/. Create a free account and login. Add your site’s url to the “Add a Site” box and click on “Add”.
Enter in the “About My Website” info, including the sitemap’s url, the “About Me” details, and “Contact Preference” info.
Click on “Save”. You will need to verify you are the owner of the site again by adding a meta tag to your home page’s source code. Once you have added this code, click on “Verify”. Just like Google, Bing will provide you with useful tools, such as the number of indexed pages, inbound links, an SEO Analyzer and SEO Reports, and more.