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Website Development With WordPress: Planning Your Strategic Sitemap

to return to ”Website Development With WordPress: Adding WordPress Plugins You Will Need” please click here
or to return to the tutorial index please click here.

A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site and allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs (yes, the www.yoursite.com/whatever) on your website that are available for crawling. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently. Sitemaps are a URL inclusion protocol and complement robots.txt, a URL exclusion protocol.

It is also important to understand that Sitemaps supplement and do not replace the existing crawl-based mechanisms that search engines already use to discover URLs. Also, using this protocol does not guarantee that web pages will be included in search indexes, nor does it influence the way that pages are ranked in search results.

But to my experience, this is a must. This is the fastest way to notify google about your website and changes and should seriously aid in your SEO process. To elaborate, please take a look at our article about Making WordPress Search Engine Friendly.

Sitemaps are particularly beneficial on websites where:

Some areas of the website are not available through the browsable interface, or webmasters use rich Ajax, Silverlight, or Flash content that is not normally processed by search engines. The webmaster can generate a Sitemap containing all accessible URLs on the site and submit it to search engines. Since Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask use the same protocol now, having a Sitemap would let the biggest search engines have the updated pages information.

So, let’s work on a way on how to automatize this process, which is a very simple task in wordpress.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Although this is not mandatory, as we wan’t to be shure our sitemap es being posted, we will need a google webmaster account. The url for registration is http://www.google.com/webmasters/. Once your account is created, you should create a record for the site you wan’t to work with, and via the google authentication methods, confirm the site ownership. I personally recommned the script placing in your website root modality, as I have done this process various times and this choice has proved to be the one that never fails.Now, we should install our XML sitemap automation.

For this, we will include another plugin in our installation, a plugin called Google XML Sitemaps.

XML Sitemap Generator

XML Sitemap Generator

This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Please download from here (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/), decompress and install this plugin by uploading the resulting forlder into the ftp://yourwebsite.com/wp-content/plugins folder.

Once this process is complete, you should activate the plugin. In the plugins section of your wordpress admin panel, please activate this plugin. All settings are pretty self explanatory and you should not have to meddle with them much, but in the configuration page (the link in the plugin detail in the plugins section) for this plugin you should add your google account info for google notifications to be done automatically.

Some features about this plugin :

  • Post Priority (this is especially useful, even more so if you have Popularity Contest enabled)
  • Auto-detects the sitemap location
  • Options to include or exclude specific content types (example, posts, categories, archives, tag pages, etc)
  • Easy to change the frequency for robots to re-crawl pages (example, Daily, Monthly, Yearly, etc)
  • Easy to change the priority level for each content type
  • And many more.

Finally, we should test our reporting of news to the google services. To do this there are two procedures. Manually, forcing the update, and automaitcally, allowing the plugin to perform the update. Automatically, the plugin will perform the update anytime your wordpress website is updated (you can configure which parts of the website to report – tags, posts, comments, etc.).

To revise your results, please log into the webmaster tools area in google, click your website and in the left panel click on Site Information>Sitemaps. There you should see the google sitemaps and the amount of indexed urls you have.

to continue to ”Website Development With WordPress: Adding your first Entry” please click here.

posted by admin
Martes, diciembre 1, 2009