<< by on June 28th, 2010
Our latest #seo411 chat involved discussion around Search Engine Sitemaps, including what they are, why they are important, the different types of Sitemaps, and how to create and register them. If you missed it, here are some of the highlights.
Q1: Are XML Sitemaps necessary for SEO?
XML Sitemaps definitely help your SEO efforts, but are not guaranteed to boost your rankings. It’s a best practice of SEO, and the process of creating and registering one takes only a few moments, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of it.
Q2: Is it necessary to submit Sitemaps to the search engines?
Even though it is considered to be a best practice of SEO, it is not absolutely necessary to submit a Sitemap to the search engines. It is not required to register a Sitemap to establish rankings. Registering with the engines gives you the opportunity to see deeper into what pages are being indexed, when the engine crawls your site, and see any errors they might encounter during the process. Even though it’s not a requirement, registering your Sitemap allows the engine another outlet to find and index more pages of your site.
Q3: Do you have to submit different Sitemaps to each search engine?
Luckily, no. That’s the beauty of the simplicity of Sitemaps. You can create one XML Sitemap, and use that same Sitemap to register with the different engines. There’s no need to create different ones for each. However, you will have to register the Sitemap separately on each engine you choose. Be sure your Sitemap aligns with the universal standards. Sitemaps.org is a great resource to find more details.
Q4: Where do you submit them?
You can submit your Sitemaps with Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Toolbox. Creating an account with either is a free, quick and easy process. Create your account and follow the instructions for submitting and verifying your Sitemap and you’ll be good to go. See more details on registering by viewing our most recent micro-webinar Google Sitemap Basics slides, which covers the process.
Q5: What types of Sitemaps do you use or recommend?
The most commonly type used is a general Sitemap file. There are also Sitemap Index files, which are useful for larger, content-driven sites, that require a larger amount of file space. General Sitemap files allow up to 50,000 entries, while Sitemap Indeces are limited to the same, however, they allow you to enter 50,000 individual Sitmaps (that’s 2.5 billion entries!). There are also News and Video Sitemaps, so Google can find and index your site’s news for Google news listings, and videos for Google Video.
Q6: Do you currently use specialized Sitemaps? For instance, specifically for video/news content?
Video Sitemaps are increasingly more important as the search industry grows. A lot of chat participants are anxious to start using them and see their potential impact with Google Video rankings.
Q7: How do you create a Google XML Sitemap? What tools do you use?
From proprietory software to free tools, there are several options to create your Sitemap. Some great free tools to try out include GSite Crawler, Site Map Builder, and XML Sitemaps Generator. These tools quickly generate an XML Sitemap that is ready for engine submission.
Q8: Do Sitemaps have limitations?
Yes. General Sitemap files are limited to 50,000 entries, while Sitemap Indeces are limited to the same, but instead of page entries, it’s 50,000 individual Sitemaps, giving you the possibility to submit up to 2.5 billion pages of your site. This type of Sitemap is great for content driven sites, and may not be necessary for all websites.
Q9: Have you ever used a Sitemap Index?
Sitemap Indices are a must for large scale sites. We have created them for some of our larger clients, and they must be created manually, not by a tool.
Q10: How often do you update your Sitemap(s)?
Ideally, you should update your Sitemap anytime you update site content. You should add new pages and update the dates of site content updates.
Q11: What resources do you find are helpful regarding Sitemaps?
Sitemaps.org, GSite Crawler, and Google’s information on Sitemaps and submission in the Webmaster Center are great resources to reference.
Thanks to all of our regular participants for joining us, and welcome to our new followers; we hope you’ll join us tomorrow at 2PM ET for our final June #seo411 chat on SEO Tools. Follow all of the #seo411 participants with the button to the right.
Also – keep an eye out for the topic schedule for our July chats to come soon!