A Sitemap is an easy way for the owner of a website to let search engines know about pages on their site that are available for “crawling”. A Sitemap should be an XML file in a very specific format which lists the web pages for a site along with additional metadata about each page so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
Using the proper Sitemap format does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site (i.e. no guarantee but it helps).
This XML format was first created by Google but is now used by all of the major search engines to know which pages they should index at your site. While you can learn the various techniques to build an XML formatted Sitemap, there’s absolutely no reason to do that.
Clients of DomainNameSanity.com can simply contact us through the Contact page request that we add a sitemap to your hosting plan. We’ll do that for you for free – with no further effort or knowledge on your part.
If your hosting isn’t with DomainNameSanity.com, there are a number of free services that will build the XML file for you including http://www.xml-sitemaps.com and http://www.freesitemapgenerator.com
After you have created the sitemap and uploaded it to the main directory in your hosting plan, you’ll also need to create and upload a file named robots.txt. DomainNameSanity.com will also do this for you. However, if you’re not using us, the way you create the file is to open a basic text editor. Then place these two lines into the page:
You should replace (a) “mydomain.com” with your actual domain name and (b) “sitemap.xml” with the name of your sitemap file if you used something different. Then save this file with a name of “robots.txt” and upload it to the main directory for your website.
The final step is to “ping” Google and Bing (the two largest search engines) to let them know about the existence of your site map. You do that by going to each of these two Internet addresses after you use the method above to get the correct location of your sitemap.