If you have a website, you should be using an XML Sitemap to help improve your Internet visibility. What is an XML Sitemap? It is a simple, effective way for you to give the search engines a list of all the URLs you want them to crawl and index. If the search engines don’t find your site or specific pages on it, your prospects won’t either!
Brief highlights of the importance of an XML Sitemap
1. Although adding a URL to the Sitemap file does not guarantee that a URL will be crawled or indexed, it can result in pages that the search engines had not yet discovered or indexed get crawled or indexed.
2. XML Sitemaps can help pages that are on the search engines’ supplemental index make it to the main index.
3. You can use these Sitemaps to let the search engines know how often a page is changed to improve crawl rate.
4. You can alert the search engines to any changes/additions to your site
5. The additional URLs you provide help increase crawl coverage and crawl speed.
6. The verification and registration of an XML Sitemap can give the search engines the credibility that they desire.
7. In all, XML Sitemaps can help improve visibility and rankings.
8. Best of all – they are FREE
There are a few things to keep in mind. It is important to use the correct canonical version of your URL (i.e. www vs. non-www.) and that you load the XML Sitemap in the highest-level directory you want the search engines to crawl. Don’t include multiple URLs that point to identical content, simply pagination pages and low value pages. And make sure that none of the URLs you include contain tracking parameters.
Start 2011 off right. Check with your web developer to see if they created an XML Sitemap for you. If not, ask them to do so right away!