If you have been on the Internet for any more than a minute you probably have a pretty good idea that Google is the monster of all search engines and can drive you tons of targeted traffic for free
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Copyright 2006 John Navata
If you have been on the Internet for any more than a minute you probably have a pretty good idea that Google is the monster of all search engines and can drive you tons of targeted traffic for free (and free traffic is definitely the best kind 😉
With that said, Google is constantly coming out with new tools for us marketers to take advantage of and the one I want to address today is “Google Sitemaps”. I want to answer two important questions about Google Sitemaps that I am constantly getting:
Question #1: Will Sitemaps help increase my rankings?
Answer #1: Now, I get this question all the time and the only logical answer I can come up with is YES! Chances are pretty darn good that if Google releases something and you use it, it could only help, not hinder, your rankings! (Remember Blogger.com… yup, the fastest blog sites to get listed in Google! Go figure!)
Question #2: What exactly does a Google Sitemap do?
Answer #2: Well here it is… any time you add new content to your site or your blog, you’re going to want Google to include the most up-to-date version in its listings. In the past, this meant waiting for Google to index your site all over again… but since Google runs on its own agenda that could be next week… or next month… or next year. You never knew and it was extremely frustrating.
But finally Google has solved this problem with Google Sitemaps!
By using Sitemaps you can proactively tell Google every time you update your site so Google knows exactly when they need to come back and reindex it. And best of all, it’s free!
Think of it as sending Google an invitation to visit your site every time you change it and add new information. This is particularly useful for blogs or other newsy web sites that are updated regularly.
Through Sitemaps you will get:
Up-to-date search results presented to your target market, so they can access the very latest information on your site.
In-depth reports that show you which pages Google has visited and when, so you can make sure they index all your most important content.
Here’s a quick five-step guide to walk you through the process of getting your site registered with Google Sitemaps, so you can start using it right away.
Go to Google’s “Add URL” page to submit your site, if you haven’t already done so. (You can find it at: http://www.google.com/addurl.)
Check to see if Google has indexed your site by typing “cache:http://Your Web Site” into your browser’s search bar and hitting “Enter.” A saved version of your web page will appear, along with the date and time that Google last visited it.
(For example, if I wanted to see when Google last visited our site’s homepage, I’d enter the following: “cache:http://www.marketingtips.com”)
Go to Google Sitemaps and sign up for an account. Then follow their instructions to add your site or sites to your new account.
Once you’ve submitted your site to http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps, there’s a very quick and easy process you can use to resubmit our site to Google every time you add new content. Simply take the following URL and customize it by adding your URL to the end of it: www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://%3A%2F%2F For example, if I were doing this for our main site, the customized URL would look like this:
Paste the customized URL into your browser’s address bar and press “Enter.” Then save that URL in your favorites or bookmark folder and simply click on that bookmark every time you update your web site or blog.
And that’s it! Once you’ve got your web site submitted, you can check how often Google drops by to index your pages. You can even see which pages Google is visiting to make sure they’re all getting indexed. This will help you drive more traffic to your site from Google.
If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of waiting for Google to index your site, you’re going to love jumping ahead of your competitors and getting your listings updated right away with Google Sitemaps!