One of the most popular offerings in the Google toolset is Google's sitemaps tool. The Google Sitemaps program is intended to enable website owners to push their website pages to get crawled by Google, instead of Google eventually coming to the page. In a very small nutshell, Google Site Maps uses XML technology and RSS capabilities in order to crawl changes to your site as soon as they happen. By submitting a sitemap to Google or using their Sitemap Generator, Google will be able to crawl your site more efficiently and in a more timely fashion.
This is going to enable webmasters to get their content into the search engine listings faster, which in turn, will bring more searchers, and (hopefully) more conversions. As stated on the Google Sitemaps Help Page, "Google Sitemaps is an experiment in web crawling. Using Sitemaps to inform and direct our crawlers, we hope to expand our coverage of the web and improve the time to inclusion in our index. By placing a Sitemap-formatted file on your webserver, you enable our crawlers to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly." If you want Google to see more of your website pages on its' crawls throughout the Web, or want Google to see your site content changes more quickly, then you need to use Google Sitemaps.
How Does Google Sitemaps Work
Basically, all you need to do is:
- Use Google's SiteMap Generator to come up with a sitemap; or, if you're comfortable with it, you can create your own. Just follow the Google Guidelines when you do this.
- Update your sitemap every time you make any kind of changes to your site.
How Google Sitemaps Fits Into Search Engine Optimization
For one thing, it's free (and Google says it will continue to be free). This is an incredible piece of technology that should be an essential to every website owner and search engine optimization specialist. Secondly, Google Sitemaps gets your stuff to Google faster, and cuts down on waiting for spider time. You could almost compare this to Google's paid inclusion program, except for the fact that it's totally gratis.
Tips for Using Google Sitemaps
- Get a Google Account. This isn't totally necessary to use Google Sitemaps, but you'll be able to use Google's diagnostic tools to check on your site submissions.
- Don't put all your eggs in the Google sitemap basket. This is a tool, nothing more, nothing less, and will not guarantee you higher rankings.
- Need help with Google Sitemaps? Go to the very helpful Google Sitemaps FAQ Page. It should be able to answer any question you might have.