Google Sitemaps FAQ

Q: What is a sitemap?

A: A sitemap is an XML file that lists all available URLs for a website, along with additional information about each URL in the file. You should always create a sitemap for your website. This will help search engines crawl your site faster and display more content. Right now the standard sitemap format is XML, all major search engine use this format for sitemaps.

Q: How do I create a XML Sitemap?

A: This is one task you will not want to do in notepad, it can be done, but would be very time consuming. There are many websites & freeware programs that can build an XML sitemap for you. I don’t recommend purchasing software to create XML sitemaps; many freeware programs do the exact same thing. Below is a few links to free XML sitemap generators & websites.
http://www.vigos.com/products/gsitemap/ – Free XML Sitemap Program
http://www.auditmypc.com/free-sitemap-generator.asp – Online Sitemap Generator (no limits)
https://www.google.com/webmasters/to…generator.html – Official Google Sitemap Generator

Q: How do I submit my XML sitemap to Google?

A: This is a very simple thing to do; I also recommend placing a direct link to your sitemap on your homepage. You can the Google Webmasters Central to submit your sitemap to Google. There are many other great features and tools with Google Webmasters Central as well; you’ll find it very useful. Below is a link to Google Webmasters Central.
http://www.google.com/webmasters – Google Webmasters Central

Q: What is the robots.txt file?

A: The robots.txt file is part of the Robots Exclusion Protocol. You can use this file to allow or disallow search engines from crawling and indexing certain areas of your website. This is great to reduce bandwidth usage by crawlers. You can also point to your XML sitemap file; this is useful since it allows search engines to find your XML sitemap.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots.txt – More Detailed Information

Q: How do I create a robots.txt file?

A: This is very simple to do. You can open notepad or any text editor you like and create the file robots.txt is text format only. Below is the basic sample code to point to your sitemap and allow indexing and crawling of all your pages. Just save this file and upload it to your top web directory.

User-agent: *
Disallow:
sitemap: Your URL to Your SiteMap

http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/robots.html – More Advanced Robots.txt Usage.

Q: I’ve submitted my sitemap, why haven’t I been crawled?

A: Just because you submit a sitemap doesn’t mean you might get crawled any faster. New sites can take awhile to get fully indexed into Google, or any other search engine for that matter. The best way to increase this indexing is by getting quality back links to your site. Remember, the sitemap is just a map of your site for the search engines; it doesn’t increase your crawling rate. If it does, it isn’t by much.

Sitemap Resources

Below is a list of resources that may also help answer your questions, remember reading is knowledge, and the more knowledge you have the better your site will perform.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/to…/protocol.html – Google Explanation of the XML Sitemap Protocol
http://www.vigos.com/products/gsitemap/ – Free XML Sitemap Program
http://www.auditmypc.com/free-sitemap-generator.asp – Online Sitemap Generator (no limits)
https://www.google.com/webmasters/to…generator.html – Official Google Sitemap Generator
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots.txt – Robots.txt Detailed Information
http://www.robotstxt.org/wc/robots.html – Advanced Robots.txt Usage.

Regards, samit