What the heck is a "Google sitemap"?
Well -- originally a sitemap was a page on your web site that provided an easy way to find other pages within the site. It was popular early on when websites weren't designed to be easy to navigate.
Many sites still include sitemaps in this sense. However, a well designed web site shouldn't need a "map" for the visitor.
The term "Google Sitemap" has become popular and it's really an entirely different thing.
Web sites started as plain HTML which is generally easy for Google to read. When sites became slicker with dynamic content, ajax, and flash -- the ability for Google to understand what the page contained was much harder.
Plus many of the url's (links) in the page might yield different dynamic content depending on what was searched or clicked.
This would cause Google to miss imporant product pages or "get lost" when trying to analyze your web site.
Of course this could hurt the rankings of your site.
So Google came up with a new standard originally called "Google Sitemaps"
Google said. HEY! Why don't you provide us with an XML formatted file that will show us a list of pages we can look at when analyzing your website. And in return your web site could be fairly ranked with it's competitors.
- Every single page of your site would be looked at by google.
- You have the opportunity to associate important keywords to each page
- Dynamic product pages would no longer be missed or undervalued
- Most "web designers" and even people who fancied themselves "programmers" really could not build a proper xml file per Google's specifications.
- If you could manage to get the file built -- you were required to automatically deliver it anytime google askes for it. This really requires a good programmer.
So even today many of your competitors fail to use this Google Sitemaps function. The same format is the standard for other Search Engines like Bing as well.
I'm happy to say that all Website Forge web sites already have "Google Sitemap" functionality built in.
WHERE IS THIS GOOGLE SITEMAPS FILE?
This file is automatically generated every time you download it.
Just append /sitemap_index.gz to your domain name to see it.
This is the permanent location of your sitemap file.
Now, you probably won't be able to read the file unless you are a programmer. Just suffice to know you have an edge over your competitors.
Create a ticket at http://ticket.websiteforge.com with any questions setting up your Google Sitemaps file with google.
Hope this was a helpful article.
e-commerce website design
Michigan E-commerce Consultant