Lee Odden

Search Engines Agree on XML Sitemap Standard

Lee Odden     Blogging Strategy

GYM: Google Yahoo MSNIn great news, Google, Yahoo and MSN have agreed upon a XML sitemap standard.

What’s this mean to you? Well, you just need to create one XML sitemap and you can submit it to all three engines. I’ve been doing that for a while and didn’t seem to have any problem but now it’s official.

Why should you create an XML sitemap? An XML sitemap outlines all the URLs on a site so that search engines can find them all easily. Much like a normal sitemap, it just lists all the pages however, an XML sitemap is optimized for search engines, not for people. By giving search engines a list of URLs on your site, you are increasing the number of pages they know about and can refer traffic to.

If you posted once a day for a year, you’d have 365 post pages. That doesn’t include categories, archives and any other blog related pages. Since the numbers add up so quickly, it’s hard for a search engine to keep up and even harder for a user to keep them organized so that an engine can find them all easily. An XML sitemap gives engines one file full of all the URLs on your site, optimized just for them.

So, how do you create an XML site map? There are variety of ways but here are my top three choices:

  1. Google Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress. Once installed, it automatically updates and pings Google when you have new content. Since all engines now use the same XML formatting, the name is a little outdated. It should be updated to Search Engine Sitemap Generator.
  2. GSite Crawler. This is a free desktop application for PCs that will crawl your site and create the XML site map for you to upload. It doesn’t automatically update but it is easy to use and you could re-generate an XML map ever month or so. If anyone knows of a free Mac app like this, I’d love to hear about it.
  3. XML-Sitemaps.com. This is a web based XML sitemap creation tool that is free for small sites. Again, it’s not automatic, but it’s free and easy to use. Plus it works on any platform.

If you have a blog, you should be creating an XML sitemap. Even if you do it only once every six months, it’s better than none at all.

Do you use a different tool for creating XML sitemaps? If so, do share. 🙂

[tags]xml,sitemap,xml-sitemap,google,yahoo,msn,gsite-crawler[/tags]

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.

Comments

  1. I have had great results with CoffeeCup’s Google SiteMapper, but it does seem to get hung up on really large web sites. My sites with under 500 pages seem to do well. It creates a sitemap in both html and xml.

  2. CoffeeCup’s Google SiteMapper looks pretty nice. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I’ve just found your site on Brad Fallon’s blog. Thanks for the informations.

    I was wondering how tocreate site maps for my wordpress blogs.

  4. Franck – Use the Google Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress (number 1 above) and it’ll do all the work for you one you have it installed.

  5. This is awesome! It should save on bandwidth by eliminating ineffective spidering. This is also a great windfall for those who have taken the time to create and maintain their sitemaps for Google. It will be interesting to see if this results in more complete and timely indexing for webmasters and their sites by the big three search engines.
    Generating a sitemap is not hard and there are a lot of great tools to make them.
    You can give ours a try. Just visit our site it works for Lunux, Unix, Windows and Apple Mac OS.

    http://www.web-design-pros.ca/software/sitemapGenerator.html

  6. I did try out the Java Site Map generator and it works. Doesn’t feel like an application and that security message makes me nervous. It also took longer than it should have on a really small site. However, it does what it says.

  7. If you have any problems to create XML sitemap files for your sites, try Sitemap Writer Pro. It is a simple tool that helps you to create and keep up-to-date sitemaps for your websites.
    Sitemap Writer Pro has new tools – FTP manager for uploading sitemaps, search engine notification tool, site crawler for adding an URLs into the sitemap and Yahoo Index viewer.

    Sitemap Writer Pro is a new (professional) edition of a Sitemap Writer. Some methods for opening, importing sitemaps, adding an URLs and fast editing are added into the program.

  8. I use A1 Sitemap Generator – I have had no problems scanning and generating XML sitemaps for my 50.000 page website. It can also create multipage HTML sitemaps:
    http://www.micro-sys.dk/products/sitemap-generator/

  9. It was about time. 🙂

  10. RingoDestarr says:

    I am wondering. Does anyone know if your XML sitemap should be optimized as well? Does it matter what order your link list is in on your sitemap? For instance, should stronger pages be listed near the top?

    The reason I am asking is this. My site was ranking #1 on yahoo, and doing well in google. Then, I submitted my sitemap (That I created with a tool called A1 Sitemap Generator). I submitted it to Google and Yahoo . . . and within days, my ranking not only dropped – but my site vanished totally off the search results.

    I also noticed that after submitting my sitemap, that the few pages of my site that DID remain in search results where low ranking pages . . the index page was not even showing . . even when I search my site name.

    Now, I see that my XML sitemap is listed alphabetically – pushing my index page to the mid listing . . . is that why it vanished? The few pages that ARE showing in search . . . are ones that are near the top of my sitemap . . but of little importance.

    Any thoughts?

    • @RingoDestarr Order doesn’t matter, but priority does. Make sure your index page has the highest priority. Also submit it to Google Webmaster tools and see if they give additional information on what could be causing issues.

  11. I have never ever heard anyone suggest the order of URLs in the XML sitemap matters. However, a few have reported in forums (general problem not related to sitemap generator) that websites with e.g. duplicate content pages may suffer. Under all circumstance, I suggest you give it a little time and wait to see if the problem goes away. You could also ask in Google Webmaster Groups.

Trackbacks

  1. searchengineguru.info » One Sitemap to rule them all… says:

    […] For my more advanced readers, you already know all about XML sitemaps, so I won’t get into a ton of detail here, but BloggerDesign.com linked to a few tools to help you create an XML SiteMap. You can find that blog post here: http://toprankblog.wpengine.com/70/search-engines-agree-on-xml-sitemap-standard/ […]

  2. […] looking for new content to crawl and rank. Ensure your site is search friendly and submit an XML sitemap for faster indexing. Before you know it, the search engines will start bringing […]