Basically an XML sitemap is a road map that lists all the pages existing on your website. It is a way for you, as a website owner, to communicate with search engines such as Google or Bing/Yahoo and let them know which links on this road map are important and how frequently you update your website. Sitemaps do not increaserankings of your posts in Google or Yahoo, but they effectively let search engines know of all the links available on your site and hence better crawl through your website.
For example, I created a new website recently and noticed that my links were not getting indexed into the search engine. I googled my site and nothing came up. That’s when I decided to create a XML sitemap and overnight my links were slowly getting indexed into Google’s search results. For new blogs, it’s important to create an XML sitemap to inform search engines of your site and links you have to offer. Although the sitemap does not improve your search engine rankings, at least your links are in and with somemanipulation you can improve your rankings through time.
I don’t manually create this XML sitemap. I installed a freesite map plugin that creates and manages my XML sitemap for me. The regenerates and zips a new sitemap everyday. Then it attempts to submit it to the search engines. The creates a sitemap to a link, it’s usually saved to a file called sitemap.xml. This is what my XML sitemap currently looks like.
It is not good enough to just download and activate a free Sitemapplugin, you must submit your sitemap links to Google and Yahoo for them to know where your website sitemap is. You can do this through Google Webmaster Tools.
My next tutorial will show you how to download and install a free WordPress plugin to create an XML sitemap.