Checking and Uploading Your Sitemap

In this tip, I’m going to quickly explain XML Sitemaps, what they do, and how to use them for your site. Whilst XML Sitemaps can be complicated, for most people’s purposes, they’re really very simple. The only tool we need for this video is a verified Webmasters Tools account.

An XML Sitemap is a way of telling search engines and other bots where to find your pages on your site. This is particularly useful if some pages on your site are not linked to internally, or if you have a large site with regularly updated content. In most cases, they can dramatically decrease the time taken for new content to be indexed.

Most sites use plugins or add-ons to create sitemap, which can automatically update every time a new page is added. The next time a search engine bot checks the sitemap, it can see a new page has been added and go directly to it, rather than having to crawl through all the links on your site.

You can submit your site in Google Webmaster Tools in order to help Google pick up changes more quickly. Bing Webmaster Tools has a similar feature. There are a couple of things to remember when creating sitemaps. First, sitemaps shouldn’t be larger than 50,000 URLs. If you need to include more than this, you can break them down into multiple sitemaps. You should also avoid including pages which are blocked by the robots.text file, and if possible, avoid including incorrect pages. You can easily check for errors in Webmaster’s Tools.

Making sure you include your sitemap in Webmaster Tools is an easy way of improving your site’s SEO. And if you already have a sitemap, takes less than five minutes to implement.

If you want to use the tips in this video, you can get started with the action shown here. You can also find supporting articles on HubSpot and the Dejan SEO website.

Chris is Director of Organic Search for Reprise Melbourne.