Submitting a Sitemap to the search engines is the quickest way to introduce yourself.  If you simple build a website no one will know that site exists unless you tell someone.

Then that someone tells someone and if you have something interesting, the information gets passed along.  The same with websites.  You need to tell people it exists and the search engines want you to tell them where all your content is.  By way of a Sitemap, you tell the search engines all about ALL the pages on your website and you tell them what pages you want them to “crawl” and what pages shouldn’t be included, if any.

NOTE: if you don’t submit a sitemap, the only way a search engine is going to find your website is from a link to your site from another site that the search engine robot has visited.  When the robot goes to a site it processes all the information on that page including all the links to other pages on their website and outbound links to other websites.  The robots then follow those pathways to the other websites and once on your site, the robots will then follow all the links around your site until they have indexed all you pages.

Important Information on a Sitemap

  • Sitemaps should be in XML format.
  • Each URL listed in the sitemap should include metadata about each URL
  • Each URL listed in the sitemap should also include when the page was last updated, how often it changes and how important it is relative to other URL’s onsite.

By submitting a sitemap, you are giving the robots the information you want about your site making their job simpler and improving your SEO ranking.

How to Submit a Sitemap

When creating a Sitemap you have to follow a certain protocol.  At the time of writing this article Sitemaps needed to adhere to Sitemap protocol 0.9 to comply with all search engines.  (http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html)

With Joomla there are several free sitemap generators.  We typically use XMAP.  If you’d like us to create your sitemap and submit it to Google on your behalf please simply contact us using this form it will take us approximately 30 minutes to establish the sitemap and ensure it is submitted through webmaster tools.

If you’d like to do it yourself, here are the steps.

  1. download and install XMAP
  2. go to XMAP component after it is installed and create a new sitemap called “Sitemap”
  3. select the menus you want to include in the Sitemap
  4. determine the priority and change frequency – default is 0.5 for priority and change frequency is set to weekly.  These defaults should be ok.
  5. In options you have the ability to change the style to your preference.  (I generally stick with the default settings)
  6. Save and close, once closed, make sure it is published.  Then click on the XML Sitemap link.
  7. The XML sitemap should load, copy the URL strand and login to your free Google Webmaster Tools account.
  8. Once you are in your Google Webmaster Tools account Site Dashboard you will see Sitemaps on the right side of the page, click the title Sitemaps then Add/Test Sitemap
  9. Google will automatically include your domain so all you will need to paste will be the following strand:    index.php?option=com_xmap&view=xml&tmpl=component&id=1
  10. Once this is done, click refresh and Google should tell you how many pages were submitted

You can test the validity of the sitemap here: http://www.w3.org/2001/03/webdata/xsv

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