Do you use a Google Sitemap?

You know, most people have an outstanding website and wonderful products. But their website prevents them from having a good ranking in the search engines because of the items they use to present their site. This is a common problem when webmasters use ASP session IDs, java script menus and flash intros or whole flash websites. The problem is created in the fact that most search engines cannot browse through java and flash and most completely stay away from session ids due to the fact that they could end up on a completely different page every time. So, how do you remedy this situation?

Well if you have a sitemap on your site, it certainly helps. See what a sitemap does is to layout all of the pages of your site in an easy to understand html language format. Search engines love this because it’s like giving them a table of contents on your site without them having to search every single page separately to find them all (possibly missing something that can boost your rankings significantly). In fact, search engines love them so much that, often times, it’s the first thing they look for on your site. It simplifies their job and improves your visibility at the same time.

Now it isn’t always the case that the search engines can see every page. This is true when it comes to flash programming. If you have designed your site using Macromedia Flash or part of your site is even designed with it, you run the risk of not being visible to the search engines. They can’t read that stuff. So even if you create a sitemap with a site that is fully designed in Flash, you won’t have any luck.

When you design a sitemap, it doesn’t have to be fancy like all the other pages on your site. You can even just post a logo on the page and have an alphabetical list of pages or place them in the order that you please. It is a very good idea to post a link to the sitemap on every page of your site. I say this with certainty because if someone happens to link to a certain page on your site and the search engines pick that link up, you want them to immediately know all of the pages that are included in your site in case they can’t see some of them.

Now, there is a technology out there that can not only help you gain visibility at Google, but can also inform them of new pages added or changes made to your site. It’s called Google Sitemaps and you can find out much more than I can tell you by going to the Google Sitemaps page. In it’s most rudimentary form, a Google sitemap is an xml document. XML is a programming language that is being highly used in rss technology. There are tags that you can use in XML language to inform Google that a page has been updated. Many people find this useful because you can always keep Google in the know.

Following the Google guidelines, you would create a page by page map of your site (and there are programs that can help you do this) and upload it to your server. Then you would tell Google exactly where the sitemap is and they go out and check it for updates DAILY. Yes you heard me right. Google can know about changes and new pages added to your site within 24 hours. Now this is not to say that your new pages will be added to the index in 24 hours, and it doesn’t mean that your Ranking will improve, but it can help you to alert Google to new changes on your website.

This new technology is currently still in beta testing, but it has helped me to increase my rankings at several of my sites and no doubt will be embraced soon by thousands, if not, millions of webmasters.

So if you are’t currently using this technology, look into it soon because there are many websites that can help you put one of these together. I also know of a program that I currently use to create my sitemaps and while I can’t promote it here, if you are interested in using this program, send me an email to [email protected] and I will give you all the details.

Good Luck