A sitemap gives search engines a detailed map of your website pages. When it comes to search engines, sometimes you need to give them a little push to get them to crawl your entire site. Creating a good sitemap will let the search engine know where to find new pages. Even if your site is well laid out and has the proper internal linking that’s required of SEO best practices, it’s not uncommon for a spider that crawls billions of pages per day to miss a few pages here and there. For any number of reasons, be it lack of content, lack of relevancy, and several other issues that could cause a crawling problem on your site, your sitemap is going to be the tool that can give spiders a better sense of direction, while assuring that your site gets crawled. Here’s how you can submit your sitemap to search engines for enhancing the results of your SEO efforts.
Google Webmaster Tools:
Google Webmaster Tools has a utility that not only allows you to submit a sitemap, but recrawls it on a regular basis. Additionally, if there are any issues with your sitemap, Google Webmaster Tools will make you aware of the issue so that you can get the problem fixed as soon as possible. You can then compare the number of URLs you have on your web site to the number of URLs that are actually indexed within Google’s search engine.
Bing Webmaster Tools:
Like Google, Bing also has a set of webmaster tools where you can submit your sitemap. While the traffic you generate from Bing and Yahoo! is substantially less than that of Google, this is still a worthwhile effort that can help drive additional traffic to your website on a regular basis.
If you don’t know whether or not you have a sitemap, you can check two generic URLs that are generally used to host your sitemap. http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap or http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml are two of the most common formats for storing your sitemap. If you can’t find them here, consult with the help section of the platform you are using to learn how to access or create your sitemap.
It’s important to note that while a sitemap does help search engines crawl your site, it does not by any means guarantee that you’ll get good ranking for your website. Original and relevant content will always play a major role in assuring that your site ranks for the keywords you’re actually targeting. Sitemaps are merely a best practice among the most common SEO techniques and strategies available to web developers today.