Three Ways To Index Your Site With Google Sitemaps [Difficult, Hard, And Easy]
Google has recently implemented a program where any webmaster can create a Sitemap of their site and submit it for indexing by Google. It is a quick and easy way for you to keep your site constantly indexed and updated in Google.
The program is appropriately called Google Sitemaps.
In order for you to best use Sitemaps, you must have an XML generated file on your site that will transmit or send any updates, changes, and data to Google. XML (Extensible Markup Language)is everywhere these days, you have probably seen orange XML logo on many web sites and its often associated with Blogging because Blogs use XML/RSS feeds to syndicate their content.
Today RSS is known mostly as 'Really Simple Syndication' but its original acronym stood for 'Rich Site Summary'. XML is only simple code like HTML and it is used to syndicate your content to all interested parties.
And interested party in this case is Google. By creating Sitemaps, Google is really asking webmasters to take charge of indexing and updating of their sites. Basically, doing Googlebot's job!
This is a 'Good' thing! With steady influx of new web sites growing rapidly, indexing all this material will become a challenge, even with resources of Google. With Sitemaps, websmasters can now take charge and make sure their site is crawled and indexed.
Please note, indexing your site with Sitemaps WON'T improve your rankings in Google. You will still be competing with other sites in Google for top positions. But with Sitemaps you can make sure all your pages are crawled and indexed quickly by Google.
There are some other big advantages of using Google's Sitemaps - mainly you have control over a few key variables, attributes or tags. To explain this as simply as possible, your XML powered sitemap file will have this simple code for each page of your site:
< url> < loc>http://www.yoursite.com/< / loc> < priority>1.0< /priority> < lastmod>2005-07-03T16:18:09+00:00< /lastmod> < changefreq>daily< /changefreq> < /url>
Along with 'urlset' tags at beginning and end of your code, and an XML version indication - that's basically your XML file! File size will depend on number of webpages you have.
Taking a closer look at this XML file:
location - http://www.yoursite.com - name of your webpage
priority - you set priority you want Google to place on that page in your site. You can prioritize your pages: 0.0 being least, 1.0 being highest, 0.5 is in middle. This is ONLY relative to your site. It will not affect your rankings. Why is this important? You have certain pages on your site that are more important than others, (home page, high profit page, opt-in page, etc.) by placing high priority on these pages, you will increase their importance in Google.
last modified - when you last modified that page, this timestamp allows crawlers to avoid recrawling pages that haven't changed.
change frequency - you can tell Google how often you change that particular page. Never, weekly, daily, hourly, and so on - if you frequently update your page this could be extremely important.
Why do I need a XML Generator?
In order for this XML sitemap file on your site to be constantly updated, you need a Generator that will spider your site, list all urls and automatically feed them to Google. Thus constantly updating your site in Google's massive index or database. Keep in mind, Google also gives you option of submitting a simple text file with all your URLs.