Why a Sitemap Is Your Blog’s Best Friend

Why a Sitemap Is Your Blog's Best Friend

How would you like to increase your search engine traffic easily and significantly? My site receives around 30-40% of its traffic each week from Google and other search engines.

As you probably know, Google is the most widely used search engine, and if you are not in Google’s index, you are missing out on a significant amount of traffic.

Today I will explain why a sitemap is so beneficial to blogging and how it can easily increase the amount of search engine traffic you receive.

What is a sitemap?
In a nutshell, a sitemap is an XML text file which contains all of the links on your site and their respective priority. By using a sitemap, you are showing Google that your site is well organized and ready for indexing.

When a search engine spider, such as the Googlebot, gets ready to crawl your site, it first looks for a sitemap. If it does not find a sitemap, it crawls your site manually and has to determine for itself the most relevant pages. The advantage of having a sitemap is that Google will take less time to crawl your site, crawling will occur more frequently, and the Googlebot will automatically know what pages are the most relevant.

How does Google know when to crawl your site?
Everyone should use Google Webmaster Tools. By using Webmaster Tools and adding a sitemap, you can boost the chance that Google will crawl your site more often.

The first step is to verify you are the owner of your web site. You do this by adding a meta-tag to your site which shows Google that you own that particular site. Upon verifying site ownership, you can add a sitemap.

Google Webmaster Tools also contains a variety of other useful tools that show you how you rank for various keywords and what possible 404’s Google has found in your site structure. Here is a picture from Google Webmaster Tools showing the last time my site was indexed.

Google Webmaster Tools

How do I create a sitemap?
Luckily, there is a very handy WordPress plugin called Google Sitemap Generator which will automatically build a new sitemap everytime you publish a new post. The great thing about WordPress is that it is already very SE-optimized as far as onpage structure and source code. If you use this plugin in combination with Optimal Title, you are virtually guaranteeing that your site will rank well for a variety of different keywords. For more information about Optimal Title and its benefits, see this post.

The other advantage of using the Google Sitemap Generator plugin is that it will automatically ping Google telling them to reindex your site when you submit a new post. My site is now recrawled by Google almost everyday. This plugin also gives you the ability to set the priority of pages and posts on your site.

In conclusion, all bloggers should build a sitemap. Every post you write contains a variety of keywords people search for everyday. Wouldn’t it be nice to get more targeted traffic for free? The combination of Google’s Webmaster Tools and the Google Sitemap Generator WordPress Plugin make it is very easy to increase the amount of SE traffic your site receives.

For more information, please see:

15 thoughts on “Why a Sitemap Is Your Blog’s Best Friend”

  1. I also use the sitemap generator and optimal title, but I’d add one more plugin to this list: Head Meta Description.

    This plugin makes a meta description tag for a portion of your post that will help your SEO. It also gives searchers something to read on a SERP instead of Google trying to figure it out for you.

  2. Hey Nate, good post I use sitemap generator plugin for wordpress. By the way I noticed this is a free theme, why don’t you have the copyright at the bottom ? (Just asking :P).

    1. Hey Zane, thanks for the comment. I think I completely spaced when I created my own custom footer and misleadingly took out all the other info. But you know what, you are right. The authors of themes deserve the credit and the linkback so I am going to fix that right now. Thanks! 🙂

    1. It sounds like Dreamhost is really Nightmarehost. I’ve only heard nightmarish things about them. If you need better hosting, I can provide a much better and more affordable solution. I know Matt Coddington and Net Business Blog can testify to that. Even Digg can’t fade us!

  3. I can attest to the value of Google Webmaster Tools. I’ve been using it for months and my site is regularly spidered. In combination with my correcting generic titles, I’m looking forward to an increase in traffic.

  4. I haven’t used a sitemap yet on my blog and the sad thing is that it shows. I have traffic from referral sources but wasn’t still able to tame the search engines. With the 2 plugins you have already mentioned in here and some more tweaks I hope in few months the results will be way better.

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