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When your website is “indexed” by search crawlers and spiders – they visit your homepage, and follow all the links to determine how many web pages you have (and if they should be indexed). This is a very hap-hazard and tedious way to index web pages, so a new standard was developed 4-5 years ago called the “XML sitemap”. XML is a programming language, and an XML sitemap is a list of pages in your website, their importance, and the last modified date. Using the XML sitemap a search crawler can not only determine how many web pages you have (and their location), it quickly knows which ones were updated last.

For static websites, you can create your own XML sitemap by using a few online like this one:

Then, place the file (sitemap.xml) in the root of your website, like this:

If you have a WordPress powered website, all you have to do is install the very popular Google XML Sitemaps plugins.

Next you need to signup with the 3 major search engine webmaster control panels:

A lot of people ask us, “why register with Yahoo when all their search results now come from Bing (through the Microsoft partnership)?”. The answer is, because Yahoo says as long as registration is available – use it until integration with Bing is complete (and there is no date as yet).

Once you have an account at all 3 search engines you’ll be asked to “verify” (that you own) your website by placing either a meta tag in HTML code, or a webpage in the root of your website. Once your site is verified, you can “submit” the URL of your sitemap to each search engine – so their crawler knows where it is. In addition, each search engine has (different) statistics that you can view regarding the indexing of your website – including success, failure, and any problems or error messages.i

You’d be surprised how much better your indexing and search traffic can be once you take the simple step of registering with the big 3 search engines!

You might also be interested in our SEO Services.