Google XML Sitemaps Plugin: How Can It Help You?

August 31, 2011
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What is a Sitemap?

Each person or company who owns a website knows the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s just a matter of what strategy you use for your website. One of the most underestimated techniques in SEO is having a Sitemap.

A Sitemap, as its name implies, is a map of your site. It shows you the basic structure of your website as well as all the links you have. Sitemaps make it easy for users to navigate through your website especially if you have a really big one. Imagine having to go through every link on a website just to find a particular page.

Having an updated Sitemap is also very useful for search engines because this is your way of telling them where you would like them to go. A Sitemap is also very useful in that they inform search engines if you’ve made any changes to your website. Indexing of updated pages won’t happen right away but they are indexed faster compared to not having a Sitemap.

Now that you know the importance of having a Sitemap on your website, the next step is to find out how to create one.

Creating Your Sitemap Using the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

There are a lot of ways you can do your Sitemap. You can create a Sitemap manually by creating a text file or use the different Sitemap generators available online. However, if you have a WordPress site, the Google XML Sitemaps plugin is the perfect solution for you.

This plugin can be easily downloaded in the plugins section of your WordPress dashboard. All you need to do is install, activate and it does all the work for you. It generates a Sitemap that will allow major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to better index your site. It also automatically updates your Sitemap whenever you make changes to your site and notifies the search engines about these changes.

Once installed, you can configure this plugin via the Settings tab on your dashboard.

In the configuration page of the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, you can decide to exclude some pages from your Sitemap or add separate static HTML pages. Posts can also be reordered on the Sitemap by giving them priority based on the number of comments. Location of the Sitemap file can also be detected automatically or set manually. The configuration page also allows you to choose how frequently you want search engine crawlers to check your site for changes.

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