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Google Sitemaps 7 Benefits You Can't Ignore

Google Sitemaps enables Webmasters to Directly Alert Google to Changes and Additions on a Website and that's just one of 7 Benefits. Telling search engines about new pages or new web sites use to be what the submission process was all about. But major search engines stopped using that process a long time ago.

Google has for a long time depended on external links from pages they already know about in order to find new web sites.

For webmasters and web site owners Google Sitemaps is the most important development since RSS or Blog and Ping, to hit the Internet.

Using RSS and Blog and Ping enabled webmasters to alert the search engines to new additions to their web pages even though that was not the primary purpose of these systems. If you've ever waited weeks or months to get your web pages found and indexed you'll know how excited we webmasters get when someone discovers a new way to get your web pages found quicker.

Well that new way has just arrived in Google Sitemaps and it's a whole lot simpler than setting up an RSS feed or Blog and Ping. If you haven't heard of Blog and Ping it's a means by which it's possible to alert the search engines to crawl your new web site content within a matter of hours.

If you're a webmaster or web site owner Google Sitemaps is something you can't afford to ignore, even if you're also using RSS and/or Blog and Ping

The reason you should start using Google Sitemaps is that it's designed solely to alert and direct Google Search Engine crawlers to your web pages. RSS and Blog and Ping are indirect methods to alert search engines, but it's not there primary purpose.

It works now, but like most things it's becoming abused. Search Engines will find ways to combat the abuse as they've done with every other form of abuse that's gone before.

Abusing the search engines is a short term not a long term strategy and in some cases certain forms of abuse will get you banned from a search engines index.

You may also be thinking, don't we already have web page meta tags that tell a search engine when to revisit a page. That's true, but the search engine spider still has to find the new page first, before it can read the meta tag. Besides that meta tags are out of favour with many search engines especially Google, because of abuse.

If talk of search engine spiders leaves you confused, they're nothing more than software programs that electronically scour the Internet visiting web sites looking for changes and new pages.

How often the search engine spider alias robot, visits your web site depends on how often your site content is updated, or you alert them to a change. Otherwise for a search engine like Google they may only visit a web site once a month.

As the internet gets bigger every second of every day, the problem for search engines and webmasters is becoming evidently greater. For the search engines it's taking their search spiders longer to crawl the web for new sites or updates to existing ones.

For the webmaster it's taking longer and becoming more difficult to get web pages found and indexed by the search engines

If you can't get web pages found and indexed by search engines, your pages will never be found in a search and you'll get no visitors from search engines to those pages.

The answer to this problem at least for Google is Google Sitemaps

Whilst still only in a beta phase while Google refines the process, it's fully expected that this system, or one very similar, is here to stay.

Google Sitemaps is clearly a win-win situation

Google wins because it reduces the huge waste of their resources to crawl web sites that have not changed. Webmasters win because they alert Google through Google Sitemaps what changes or new content has been added to a web site and direct Google's crawlers to the exact pages.

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Google Sitemaps has the potential to speed up the process of discovery and addition of pages to Google's index for any webmaster that uses Google Sitemaps.

Conventional sitemaps have been used by webmasters for quite some time to allow the easier crawling of their web sites by the search engine spiders. This type of sitemap is a directory of all pages on the web site that the webmaster wants the search engines or visitors to find.

Without sitemaps a webmaster runs the risk of webpage's being difficult to find by the search engine crawlers, or never being found at all.

Do I need Google Sitemaps if I already have sitemaps on my web sites ?

Google Sitemaps are different to conventional sitemaps because they're only seen by the Search Engine Spiders and not human visitors. Google Sitemaps also contain information that's only of value to the search engine in a format they understand.

Creating Google Sitemaps in 5 steps

1. Create Google Sitemaps in a supported format ( see end of article )

2. Upload Google Sitemaps to your Web Hosting space

3. Register for a free Google Account if you don't already have one

4. Login to your Google Sitemaps Account and submit the location of your sitemaps

5. Update your Sitemaps when your site changes and Resubmit it to Google

From your Google Sitemaps account you can also see when your sitemap was last updated and when Google downloaded it for processing. It will also tell you if there were any problems found with your sitemaps.

Google Sitemaps can be used with commercial or non-commercial web sites, those with a single webpage, through to sites with millions of constantly updated pages. However a single Google Sitemaps file is limited to 50,000 web pages. For web sites with more pages, another Google Sitemaps file must be created for each block of 50,000 pages.

If you want Google to crawl more of your pages and alert them when content on your site changes, you should be using Google Sitemaps. The other added benefit is it's free.

If you're expecting this special alert process with Google Sitemaps to improve your Page Rank, change the way Google ranks your web pages, or in any way guarantee inclusion of your web pages, Google has made it clear it will make no difference.

Google Sitemaps web pages are still subject to the same rules as non Google Sitemaps pages.

If your site has dynamic content or pages that aren't easily discovered by following links, Google Sitemaps will allow spiders to know what URLs are available and how often page content changes.

Google has said that Google Sitemaps is not a replacement for the normal crawling of web pages and web sites as that will continue in the conventional way. Google Sitemaps does however allow the search engine to do a better job of crawling your site.

The Google Sitemap Protocol is an XML file containing a list of the URLs on a site. It also tells the search engine when each page was last updated, how often each page changes and how important each page is in relation to other web pages in the site.

Google Sitemaps 7 Benefits You Can't Ignore

1. Alert Google to Changes and Additions to your Website Anytime You Want

2. Your Website is crawled more Efficiently and Effectively

3. Web Pages are Categorized and Prioritized exactly How You Want

4. Speed up the process of New Website and New Web Page Discovery

5. No Waiting and Guessing to see when Spiders crawl your web pages

6. Google Sitemaps is likely to set the standard for Webpage Submission and Update Notification which will extend the benefits to other Search Engines

7. The Google Sitemaps service is Free

Exactly how to create a Google Sitemaps file to upload to your web site is in the continuing part of this article in Google Sitemaps.

Related: Employee Blogging - Management Web Content

RSS Underground Featured Article Author Box

Tony Simpson is a Web Designer and Search Engine Optimizer who brings a touch of reality to building a Web Business. He also provides advice on Website Automation at http://www.webpageaddons.com How to create Google Sitemaps is in the continuing part of this article at http://www.webpageaddons.com/stp/googlesitemap

Google Sitemaps Explained - How To Use Google Sitemaps

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 the 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 the interested party in this case is Google. By creating Sitemaps, Google is really asking webmasters to take charge of the indexing and updating of their sites. Basically, doing the Googlebot's job!

This is a 'Good' thing! With the steady influx of new web sites growing rapidly, indexing all this material will become a challenge, even with the 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 the 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 the beginning and end of your code, and an XML version indication - that's basically your XML file! File size will depend on the 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 the priority you want Google to place on that page in your site. You can prioritize your pages: 0.0 being the least, 1.0 being the highest, 0.5 is in the 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 the 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 the option of submitting a simple text file with all your URLs.

Now there is already a flood of these generators popping up! Different ways of generating your XML powered sitemap file. More are probably appearing as you read this. For your convenience, three ways to generate your XML Sitemaps file are listed below:

Difficult - Google's Python Generator

That's a relative term, if you know your server like the back of your hand and installing scripts doesn't scare the bejesus out of you, you're probably smiling at the word difficult. Google supplies a link to a generator which you can download and set up on your server. It will cough up your sitemap XML file and automatically feed it to Google. Google XML Generator https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/sitemap- generator.html

In order for this Generator to work, Python version 2.2 must be installed on your web server - many servers don't have this. If you know what you're doing, this will probably be a good choice.

You don't need a Google Account to use Sitemaps but it's encouraged because you can track your sitemap's progress and view diagnostic information. If you already have another Google Account gmail, Google Alerts, etc. just use that one to sign in and follow directions from there.

To submit your Sitemap using an HTTP request, issue your request to the following URL:

www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=sitemap_url

Hard - A PHP Code Generator

This is a php generator that you can place on your server. This generator will spider your site, and produce your XML sitemap file. Download the phpSitemapNG and upload it to your server. Run the generator to get your XML sitemap file and send it to Google. PHP Generator http://enarion.net/google/

Again, this is only hard to do if you don't know your way around PHP files or scripts.

Easy - Free Online Generator

These Generators are popping up everywhere, and Google now keeps a list of these 'third party suppliers' of generators on their site. Find them here: http://code.google.com/sm_thirdparty.html

One of the easiest to use is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ and you can index up to 500 pages with this online Generator very quickly and it will give you the sitemap XML file Google needs to index your site. It will go into your site, spider it and index all your pages into an XML sitemap of your site. You can download this file, Compressed or Non- compressed and make minor changes such as setting the priority, changing frequency, etc.

Then upload this file to your site as sitemap.xml to the root directory of your server i.e. where you have your homepage. Then notify Google Sitemaps of your XML file and you're in business.

Of course, the only drawback, if you constantly add pages to your site you will need to also add these pages to your XML sitemap file. This won't be much of a problem unless you're daily adding pages to your site - then you will need something like the PHP or Python generator to do all this for you automatically.

Google is still the major search engine on the web so getting your pages indexed and updated quickly is the major reason to use Google Sitemaps. If you want your site to remain competitive it's probably the wisest route to take.

About the Writer of this Article

To learn more about the different Services and Programs offered by Google click here: Google Adsense & Google Adwords © 2005 Titus Hoskins of www.bizwaremagic.com This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

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