What are sitemaps?
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.
The XML-Sitemap format was introduced in 2005 by Google and adopted in 2006 by YAHOO, Bing (formerly MSN Search) and Ask.com so thats why it’s often called “Google Sitemaps”.
Will Google Sitemaps affect my Page ranking?
There are no evidences that a Google Sitemap will directly affect your ranking. However, it can help Google to index and crawl your page better which may result in a more complete index of your page.
Do I need a Google Account to use Google Sitemaps?
There are two ways to notify Google about your sitemap.
- You can register to the Google Sitemaps program and submit your sitemap. This will also allow you to see some interesting statistics about your site like the most used keywords and spidering problems.
- If you don’t have a Google account or don’t want to create one, you can notify Google about your sitemap by “pinging” their sitemap server. All you need to is to point your browser to http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://www.name.com/sitemap.xml
Google will check your sitemap for updates regularly, so you don’t need to do this more than once.
Are there some plugins I can use to make creating and maintaining my sitemap easy?
Of course there are …
- XML & Google News Sitemap Feeds – This plugin dynamically creates feeds that comply with the XML Sitemap and the Google News Sitemap protocol. It is Multi-Site and Multi-Lingual compatible and there are no options to be set nor file or dir access rights to be tampered with. This is the one I use.
- Google XML Sitemaps (the most popular but not currently supporting multisite)
- Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps (with sitemapindex, multi-site and Google News sitemap support)