Sitemaps are an important tool that can help a website be discovered by search engines. That makes them an essential tool for a site to be featured in search results as well.
Most people believe that you have to wait for Google to discover and index your site, but you can help move the process along by adding sitemap files on Google Search Console.
Here’s everything you need to know about the process.
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What Is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is simply a file you place within your domain with information about your pages and files on the site, and their relationship. Google can’t read your site as a user can, but it can read the sitemap and use it to crawl and index your website faster.
Your website could still be indexed without a sitemap, but there may be some errors. Smaller sites may get away without having one, but if you have a lot of pages on your site, a sitemap can really help avoid unreliable indexing, or even having some pages not indexed at all.
How to Submit a Sitemap
To help Google index your site better, you can go to the Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) and simply add a sitemap in one of the following formats:
- XML sitemaps
- Sitemap URL, if your sitemaps only include web page URLs
- Feed URL, if you have a blog with RSS or Atom feed
If you used Google Sites to create your webpage, it will automatically generate a sitemap for you, which you can then submit to Google Search Console. If not, you will have to find it on your site. Web designs usually place a sitemap link in the footer of the websites, but if you don’t have that, you can also search for “site:yoursite.com inurl:sitemap” to access your sitemap.
Before you add the sitemap to Google, make sure it contains only canonical URLs, as duplicates are crawled less often by the search engine. If you have the same page available in multiple versions, use HTML tags to let Google know they are not duplicates.
All formats limit a sitemap to 50MB and 50,000 URLs. If you need more, you can break it up into multiple sitemaps, or create a sitemap index that can connect multiple lists.
Then, visit the Google Search Console, and navigate to Sitemaps under the Index menu. If you have an older sitemap uploaded, remove it before you add the new one. Click the “Add a sitemap” option, paste your link, and submit your sitemap for verification.
Can We Help?
Australian Internet Advertising can help your Sydney business be featured in the Google search index with a high-quality SEO strategy that actually works. If you need help improving your SERP rank, contact us online to find out more, or call us at 1300 304 640.