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What is Google Sitemaps ?

Google Sitemaps

One of the most common problems ecommerce web sites have with rankings is that portions of their web sites are not included in the search engines. The cause can be any of a variety of reasons like complicated URL strings to slow server response or lack of a proper internal linking structure. If Google can't find your pages, they won't get into the search results.

So Google Sitemaps tool that allows web site owners to create an XML or plain text file listing all or some of the URLs of a web site for inclusion in the Google index. Up to 50,000 are allowed per document and if you're over that, you can create another site map file.

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In cases where a site might have some difficulty getting indexed, providing a sitemap to Google may assist in getting missing pages into Google's search results.

Google does not charge for this service and it's pretty easy to do in three easy steps. More information is available on Google Sitemaps at: https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/

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Devendra Jaiswal (SEO Professional)

Google Sitemaps' useful SEO Tools

One of the most useful utilities that the engineers and think tank at Google have ever devised is the Google Sitemaps program.

The said program, which is a product of their much publicized and much vaunted policy of allowing its engineers to spend 20 per cent of their paid time on personal projects, has been a boon to many webmasters, web site operators and SEO professionals because it has made certain aspects of their work far easier and more intuitive.

Google's decision to come out with Google Sitemaps is based mainly on the desire to present more intuitive and better search results to users. Because of the current limitations presented by web crawling, there is a high probability that not all pages in a web site will be noted and registered with the search engine. There are also many variables and factors that are not addressed with the current methods and technologies used for web site submissions. These limitations are what Google Sitemaps seeks to address.

Google Sitemaps was officially started in June 2005. This handy utility makes the submission of web pages to Google easier. The added features though are the detailed reports that is also generated by Google Sitemaps. In order to use the Google Sitemaps program, a person need only download a free open source tool called Sitemap Generator or use one of the many 3rd party applications. These utilities are what helps in creating a sitemap of the webmaster's web site using the Sitemap protocol that is being backed by Google itself.

The complement of new features that are part of the Google Sitemaps programs also means that it has become a great tool for search engine optimization professionals. The automation of these features has made it easier for SEO professionals to do their job and formulate the proper strategies to increase the page ranking of a web site.

For example the "top search queries" feature of Google Sitemaps allows you to see the top search queries that not only returned the client web site as a result as well as those that Google searchers actually clicked on. This feature also allows you to see the top position for the web site in the search results generated for either set search queries. The positions indicated are an average of the movement for the last three weeks.

Since any type of error can have a detrimental effect not only on the functionality of the web site but with the page ranking of a web site in Google, the report function of Google Sitemaps is a big help to SEO professionals. With the new feature, a webmaster or SEO professionals can download information straight from the Sitemaps account into a comma separated value (CSV) file. This file, which can be accessed through any text editor or spreadsheet software can contain the specific details of the web site, including the errors generated (via dead links, broken links, etc) or statistics. The good thing is the file can even contain the information for all of the web sites operated by SEO professional and included in the Sitemaps account. This is monumentally beneficial because it fully automates the search for any dead or broken links that may otherwise be a tedious chore if done manually. The good thing here is that this is periodically updated so you will know if the changes incorporated into the web site will produce broken links.

XML-Sitemaps.com provides an online Google sitemap generator that creates XML, HTML and text sitemaps and also helps you find and fix broken links on your web site.

Sitemaps and SEO - Do sitemaps help your Google PageRank? 

With the millions and millions of web sites in existence today, how do you get yours noticed? The most common way is for it to be high up in the rankings of useful and relevant web sites. Google is the most widely used search engine today. When someone keys in a search term on Google, you can only hope that your web site comes up in the first ten pages of results. You do not have to sit there and just hope, though. There are a number of things you could do to improve your chances of being noticed.

Google came up with a system to determine how important a web site is. Everyday, Google's automated programs called spiders "crawl" the World Wide Web. The purpose is to index all the existing web pages out there. The information these spiders gather is used as the basis for calculating what Google calls PageRank. This concept was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Stanford University.

What exactly is PageRank? It is an algorithm which assigns numerical weights to linked pages. The higher the figures, the more important the page is. The PageRank is resultant of how many pages link to your own page. It is of no use to make bogus incoming links to your page though. Google gives more weight to more reputable sites that link to your page. Bogus and paid incoming links can actually be detected. The algorithm takes into account all incoming links - both external and internal.

This is where sitemaps come into the picture. As can be gathered from the name, sitemaps are basically a guide to what can be found in your web site. It is a page within your site wherein the user can see the overall structure and informational content. It contains links to all the pages in your web site.

Will providing a sitemap increase your Google PageRank? The answer is simple: yes it may. As mentioned earlier, the PageRank system also takes into account internal links. The more pages you have in your web site, the higher you PageRank. A word of caution is necessary here. Pages should contain original content and not simply be copies of each other. Otherwise, your PageRank may actually decrease. As the spiders follow links to get to web pages, a sitemap will actually facilitate the "travel" of these spiders within your site. If each of the pages on your web site are interconnected and are easily accessible from one page, then chances are the spiders will find the necessary information faster and easier. Experts suggest that you put only a maximum of 100 links in one page. If you have more than that number of links, you should create different sets of sitemaps. In order for the idea of the sitemap to really work, you need to provide a link to the sitemap on every page on your web site.

The keys to increasing your PageRank are fairly simple. Include original content in as many pages as you can. Link your pages together. Create a sitemap to make navigation easier. Provide links to the sitemap for each page. This way, both user and spiders can find all the information that you have to offer.

XML-Sitemaps.com provides an online sitemap generator that creates XML, HTML and text sitemaps and also helps find broken links on your web site.

Sitemaps 101 - Benefits of and Tips on Designing a Sitemap

Have you ever wondered how a search engine works? It must be fascinating figuring out how this search tool could direct you to several web sites that are relevant to your keywords. Or, have you experienced instances where the link that supposedly contains your keywords is not exactly what you have in mind? You would probably think that there must be something wrong with the search engine that it generated irrelevant results.

How does a search engine work?

Two things figure greatly in making search engines work effectively and efficiently: the electronic search spider and the sitemap.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is basically a page or pages that serve/s as a directory by listing all the links to all documents and files found in a web site. It is not merely a random listing of links, but organized in such a way that it gives the web user an idea of how all the information that can be found in the site fits into an outline or framework. It is like viewing the table of contents of a book, or viewing the "concept map" of the site's content.

What is a spider?

In SEO language, spider is not an animal found in your closet. This electronic search spider is actually a bot which collects data and copies content to be stored in the search engine's database when keywords are fed into the search dialogue box. The spider reads the content of the site and sends another bot to follow the links and copy the content contained in them.

What purpose does a sitemap serve?

A sitemap like any other map gives directions to a navigator. It primarily targets search engine spiders so that they are properly directed to your site and to the links where keywords entered in the search dialogue appears. As such, it is actually a useful tool in search engine optimization.

A well organized site map would guide the spider to find the information it needs when keywords are entered during a search operation.

As an additional beneficial consequence, sitemaps have proven to be useful even to web users. Since a sitemap displays all the links to information found in a web site, it helps the user to search for a particular topic in mind. Many users also use the sitemap to navigate between pages in a site.

What are the benefits of having a sitemap for my web site?

1. No page would be left unturned Going back to the purpose of sitemaps, having one would mean faster and easier tracking and crawling of spiders all over your site. As a result, search engines would surely get to the view all the pages of your site and not just the pages containing random keywords.

2. Easier navigation for site visitors Once a web user has accessed your sitemap, they need not go back to the search engine page to look for what they need. If what they are looking for is in your site, then they would have an easier and faster way of locating it.

3. Potential advertising value If it so happens that a relevant product or service company reaches your site, then it would be easier for them to see how best they can position themselves in the different pages of your site as a paid page advertisement.

4. Encourage greater traffic to your site If your company web site has a sitemap then potential buyers would have an easier time in accessing your latest products and services. Moreover, they would not miss out on any product that might be off future interest to them since the sitemap would display all information found the site.

How are sitemaps formatted?

There are at least three major types of sitemaps: indexed, full categorical, and restricted categorical. An indexed site map appears as an alphabetical listing or directory. A full categorical map displays all links classified into categories; while a restricted categorical sitemap displays all links listed in a chosen category at a time. The full and restricted sitemaps are very similar except that the former displays all links in all categories all at once in a page, while the latter focuses only the links under the selected category for easier and less eye-straining viewing.

The most widely used format is the full categorical. Based on the results of a 1999 SURL study on sitemap designs, the full categorical format is most preferred by users since it is easier to search for topics within the site and it allows easier comparison between and among categories.

Some tips in setting up your sitemap

1. Link the sitemap only to your homepage. This is to ensure that the spider starts searching from your homepage down to all the pages listed in your sitemap. In this way, no page would be left unvisited by the spider.

2. Do not go beyond 30 pages for a sitemap. Large web sites having 50 or more pages should not go beyond 30 since this adds more pages to the site, and might make search engines think that the sitemap is a link farm. Also, this prevents overcrowding of links which could be tiring to view.

3. Check all the links listed in your sitemap. It can be discouraging when you click on a link only to find out that nothing is displayed. Test your sitemap; click all links in every page to make sure that all links are indeed linked to the right page.

4. Give keyword-rich titles to sitemap links. Keyword-rich titles give your site more advantage in being searched properly under the right category. But be sure to have this sitemap link linked back to the sitemap (e.g. back to sitemap).

5. Provide a short description for the links in the sitemap. Doing so would give readers a better idea of what to find in the link and save them time on surfing.

6. Be consistent in designing your sitemap with the other pages of the site. Employ a recurring design and the same HTML template for all pages to establish identity and build character to your web site.

Now that you have learned basic things about sitemaps, maybe it is time for you to build one for your site.

Juste A. GNIMAVO Owner of http://www.increaseyourmonthlyincome.com

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