What is a Google Sitemap?
Google XML Sitemaps were first introduced in June 2005 and were initially thought to be the hottest new method for website promotion. The Sitemap file is basically a small XML file that is incorporated into the websites coding and is used to provide vital information to GoogleBots when they scan your website.
What does do Google Sitemaps do?
Google sitemaps allow the webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. It also allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL such as:
- When the site was last updated
- How often your site changes
- How important each URL is in relation to the other URLs in the site
In short, the Google Sitemap.xml file enables search engines spiders crawl your website with more accuracy. Sitemaps are a URL inclusion protocol and as such complement the robots.txt file. Once created the Sitemap is uploaded to your hosting server and submitted to search engines. The Sitemap.xml will then provide the largest search engines ( Google, Yahoo etc ) with the updated pages and information contained within your website.
It is possible that using a Google Sitemap to inform Google as to where it can find all your pages, you can improve your website visibility and index saturation. Doing so may improve your ranking, however it is difficult to know whether or not Google is even using Sitemap information in their live index.
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