How to Add a Sitemap to a Blog Or Website and Increase Your Chances of Getting Indexed

In this addition to OK to Make Money Online: Adding a Sitemap will significantly improve the odds of getting your blog or website indexed. This is a vital step and is often ignored, yet it takes very little time. A Sitemap is so essential that Google designed and released its own requirements. Since its release, even YAHOO and MSN have adopted the standard.

The Sitemap provides the search engine bots with the information required to discover hidden pages or pages not cross-linked in your site. There is some additional information provided to the bots when processing your Sitemap file and is covered in the sites listed below. This information is mostly concerned with complex websites and is beyond the scope of this article.

Let's get started. First, we need to tell Google about your site, verify you own it, or have permission to revise it.

Step 1: Log in to the Google Webmaster Tools site. The "Add Site" text entry field and button are near the top of the page. Put your Blog or website URL in the text entry field and press the "Add Site" button.

Step 2: Then, click the "Verify your site" that is displayed in blue text. The "verify your site" page should then appear. Once on the "Verify a Site" page you should see "Verification status: NOT VERIFIED". To verify you own the Blog or website, you will need to enter Google generated Meta Data into your Blog or add a special HTML page to your website.

Pick the verification method:

Blogger Setup:

* Copy the special Meta Tag line into the clipboard.
* Log into Blogger.
* Select the "Layout" tab.
* Click the "Edit HTML" tab.
* Find the "head" tag near the top of the HTML edit window.
* Put the cursor behind the ">" of the head tag and paste in the Meta tag data you copied earlier.
* Click the SAVE TEMPLATE button.
* On Google's "Verify a Site" page, select the "Verify" button and press return.

Website Setup:

* Select the HTML tag.
* Using your favorite text editor open a new file. Do a Save As using the file name Google generated for you and has listed on the "Verify a Site" page, an example would be something like google643463284612.html.
* Upload the file to your website's root directory typically "public_html /".
* On Google's "Verify a Site" page, select the "Verify" button and press return.

WordPress Setup:

Note: WordPress can use either of the methods defined, but not both. May we suggest the website method as it is the easiest to implement and requires no HTML editing.

When the Overview Page is displayed with your URL, you did everything correctly.

Step 3: You will need an XML-Sitemap compliant file of your Blog or website. Currently Ask, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search also use this file format.

* Blogger Setup: The XML-Sitemap is automatically generated as you revise, add or add pages to your Blog. The Blogger XML-Sitemap file is named atom.xml. Type your Blog URL into your preferred browser and add "/atom.xml." to view what was automatically generated.

* WordPress Setup: Arne Brachhold has provided a great plug-in that you can download and installed in your WordPress Blog. Follow the instructions provided on the WordPress site. The plug-in has a graphical user interface and many options. Use the defaults to generate a Sitemap. Type your Blog URL into your preferred browser and add "/sitemap.xml." to view what was automatically generated. You will see a nicely formatted display of all your pages.

* Website Setup: To create a Sitemap for your website use the free utilities provided for you on sites like xml-sitemaps and freesitemapgenerator. Google's prefers the XML-Sitemap file compressed. If you use the xml-sitemap site, they will produce the correct file and four supplementary files. Upload the sitemap.xml.gz file to your website's root – the "public_html /" folder.

Step 4: To tell Google about the Sitemap file, go to your Overview page and press the blue Sitemaps text. When the Sitemaps page is displayed, your URL is listed under the title. In the text field provided, input the following text:

* Blogger setup: Enter "feeds / posts / default? Orderby = updated" in the text field and press the "Submit Sitemap" button.

* Website setup: Enter the text "sitemap.xml.gz" in the field provided and press the "Submit Sitemap" button.

Press the "Submit Sitemap" button.

Google will display a message that confirms your input. It will take from an hour to a couple of hours to crawl your site. Remember Google does not guarantee your site will be listed. However, be patient – it does take time.

A parting note; the upper case "Sitemap" always refer to the Google Sitemap XML object. The lower case "sitemap" always returns to a website's visual sitemap.