Search Engine Optimization: The Step Most Website Owners Forget To Do

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As you add more and more pages and blog posts to your website…search engine optimization can become a problem and it can be harder for Google to index them all.

As time passes and your site ‘matures’, some pages and posts get ‘buried’ deep in your website. These buried pages can often be overlooked by Google…which means they will never be ranked in the search engines.

The Solution…

To overcome this search engine optimization issue…create a sitemap of your website and submit it to your Google Webmaster tools account.

This may sound like a lot of ‘gobbledegook’ but bear with me…I’m going to walk you through the process and you only have to do this once…then you can forget about it.

But First…What Is A Sitemap?

A sitemap is a file that lists the entire URL’s associated with your website.

For instance, here’s my blog posts site map:

We Build Your Blog Posts Sitemap

The search engine crawlers use the sitemap to index all the pages and posts, etc on your site.

However, just by having a website sitemap…it does not guarantee all your pages and posts will be indexed into the search engines. But it can drastically improve the chances of this happening.

Here’s how you create a sitemap of your website and submit it to your Google Webmaster tools account.

Step 1: Creating The Sitemap

The easiest way is using a WordPress plugin.

I use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin and I also recommend the Google XML Sitemap generator if you don’t want to use Yoast’s.

search-engine-optimization-yoast-seo-xml

 

search-engine-optimization-xml-seo-sitemap

Once installed and set up, each time you add a page or blog post, the XML sitemap will be automatically updated.

Step 2. Verifying Google Ownership Of Your Website

Before you can submit your newly created sitemap to Google, you have to show Google that you own your website.

So sign into your Google account and go to ‘webmaster tools’.

Add your website by clicking the “Add a site” button. Then type in the domain name you wish to add, and click “Continue”.

Once the URL has been added, you will need to verify that you own this site. This can be done several ways. I like to download the file Google are recommending and then upload the file to my hosting account. Once this is done, you can ‘verify’ your site.

Step 3: Submit Your Sitemap To Google Webmaster Tools For Improved Search Engine Optimization

From within the Google Webmaster tools website, click on the domain name you have just added and it will open up a Dashboard for your site.

On the left hand side menu, click on “Crawl” and then “Sitemaps”.

search-engine-optimization-google-xml-sitemap

Click “Add/Test Sitemap” and enter the name of your sitemap.

search-engine-optimization-google-xml-sitemap

Once submitted, it can take a few hours for the sitemaps to be analyzed and added.

Then you can return here and make sure there are no errors, see how many URLs are being indexed and the time that Google last visited your website.

In Summary…

By verifying your site and adding your website’s sitemap, you are telling Google what pages and posts you have and as many as possible will be indexed into the search engines.

Remember once this is set up, it’s all automatic…you don’t need to do anything else.

Have you completed this search engine optimization process?

Has it made a difference to the pages and post indexed in the search engines?

Please share your views in the comments below.

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44 Responses to Search Engine Optimization: The Step Most Website Owners Forget To Do

  1. Dan Armishaw December 5, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Thanks Andrew for providing this clear explanation.

    It has taken me a while since I migrated from WordPress.com to self-hosted to sort out some the intricacies of managing these details that weren’t available before.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. Joel
    Twitter:
    December 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Always good advice Andrew. A lot of people forget to do this but I believe it makes a big difference and at the very least provided great feedback on how your site is indexing.
    Joel recently posted..Why I No Longer Recommend HostGatorMy Profile

  3. Sai Krishna December 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    Thank you for explaining detailed about creating and submitting sitemaps to google webmaster tools, I will use this technique on my newly established tech blog.

  4. pia D'Alia December 9, 2013 at 12:58 am #

    Hey Andrew this is really so informative article , I have been reading your articles ever since i came to know this blog. I found every article informative. Thank you

  5. Akash Agarwal December 9, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Thanks for sharing all these most important search engine optimization tips to make a successful website. All the tips you explained here very well.

  6. Sirangi Kalpana December 12, 2013 at 12:40 am #

    Hey Andrew, very nice information shared about adding limited pages and thanks for explaning use of the Google sitemap clearly.

  7. Trevor Schain December 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    My mind is always blown when potential clients approach us about SEO work and we ask if they have a sitemap or robots.txt and they say no. This is SEO 101 and hasn’t changed in forever. If you don’t have a sitemap file on your server, drop everything and generate one, upload it and submit to the search engines. There are so many solutions to have a solid one built for you, that its almost no effort. Why would you make it more difficult for search engines to find your content? Update your sitemap with each new post and resubmit to the search engines. Doing so is a massive signal that your site has frequently updated and quality content. It ets the search engines coming back to your site more frequently, which is good for your SEO efforts!

  8. Pau December 19, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I have submitted sitemaps to webmaster tools for all of my websites. I think it makes a big difference in getting all the posts indexed and of course to be in the rankings at all. Thank you for explaining it so clearly that anyone can benefit from it.

  9. Ahsan
    Twitter:
    December 20, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Sitemap & Google ownership is very important to get good rank in Search Engine. Lots of new bloggers missed these. You exclaimed well for all bloggers. I think if bloggers follow your tips they will successful
    Ahsan recently posted..Decorate Your Website With Merry Christmas PluginMy Profile

  10. Shital Bhalani December 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    hi,

    first i will like to thank you for a great article i am new to bloging and i was not having any idea about Sitemap i have recently update site map for my blog useing your method thrugh yoast plugin i would like to add you 1 question how to upload site map in blogger platform ?

  11. STEVEN J. FROMM December 24, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Andrew these are essential almost required steps to take to ensure your posts are found by Google. I have also done this with Bing. Not sure if the latter is that important.I will say I have been a slacker in submitting some of my posts to Google crawling. So this post is a good reminder. Thanks.

  12. Harshal Morwale December 26, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Hey Andrew,
    I found the post really informative and it is really helpful for a new blogger like me!
    Thank you very much for sharing! 🙂

    Regards!

  13. shameem
    Twitter:
    December 26, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Really an informative post . Creating sitemap is very important for an website and not many know about these facts …this article has given pretty good information about the SEO process.. Thanks for the information.

  14. Nithin Upendran December 27, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    Thanks for providing such a clear explanation on sitemap and google authorship. I was having doubt on google authorship and this article helped me to fig out. Thanks again howdy for sharing this info with us.

  15. Naomi
    Twitter:
    December 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the really clear useful advice and the step by step walk through helps even more! The majority aren’t even aware of what sitemap is, let alone setting it up for ranking – like the saying goes “every little helps”

    Thanks for the read

    Naomi
    Naomi recently posted..7 Reasons Why Any Business Start-up Must Have a WebsiteMy Profile

  16. Claire Georghiades January 2, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    Thank you for such a helpful post on setting up a sitemap. This has been on my ‘to do’ list for a while and now I finally understand how to do it. That’s fantastic, thank you!

  17. singhnsk January 7, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Andrew

    Do you feel that besides submitting the sitemap to Webmaster Tools, adding it to the robots.txt file is also a good idea? While we are submitting it to Google, there can be many other local search engines which might not find the sitemap otherwise. I’ve added it to the robots file myself and even if it doesn’t give any benefit, it surely doesn’t hurt either.

  18. Richard January 7, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    At the risk of sounding like a sourpuss, submitting a sitemap to the major search engines may make them aware of your content but it won’t necessarily help it to rank.

    Building deep links to your content will help with both – indexing *and* ranking. In my opinion the concept of building deep links is forgotten by bloggers just as much – if not more so – than sitemap submission and can have even greater benefits.

    Your opinion?

    • Andrew from Blogging Guide
      Twitter:
      January 8, 2014 at 2:16 am #

      Richard

      Without the sitemap submitted to Google some of the posts/pages on your website will not be indexed and therefore…will not rank at all.

      So I feel that adding a sitemap does improve ranking.

      What you say about deep links is true…and that is another subject altogether.

      Andrew
      Andrew recently posted..The Best of 2013: The Top Posts On We Build Your BlogMy Profile

  19. Gautham January 21, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    Hi,

    Yes, most webmasters ignore the sitemap submission concept. It allows google to index faster. It is a must-have.

  20. mickel happy January 24, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    I was about to ask you if we should do it regulary, but i find it in your post; it’s done automaticly.
    tnx for the article it’s very helpfull.

  21. andy January 28, 2014 at 11:05 pm #

    Building deep links to your content will help with both – indexing *and* ranking. In my opinion the concept of building deep links is forgotten by bloggers just as much – if not more so – than sitemap submission and can have even greater benefits.

  22. Mike Howg February 9, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I’m surprised at how many bloggers don’t do these things and that a lot of them don’t even know what a sitemap is or what it does. Whenever I’m just starting out with a new blog, these are some of the first steps that I take in order to get my site indexed. It might not help much with the rankings but it does get my pages indexed quicker than if I didn’t submit my info to Google.

  23. Abhishek Tavasalkar
    Twitter:
    February 14, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Hey even before landing on this page I did what is given in this post. But whenever I try to submit my XML site map using Yoast SEO, Google Webmaster tool say that it is not a valid XML and instead is an HTML file. Please do help me with this I’m stuck to this part
    Abhishek Tavasalkar recently posted..Ultimate Valentine Gift Ideas for MenMy Profile

  24. AbrarMohiShafee March 16, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    Yeah, you got me. I also forgot to make these things on my blog. So I am really thankful to you.

    Now I have implemented these elements and wishing to see improvement in my seo campaign. Thanks a lot.

  25. Sudipto April 12, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    Hey Andrew,
    Great Content and Yes, submitting sitemap is really very important factor in blogging as it help in indexing our post and I used Yoast for creating sitemap. This post really gonna help all the newbies. Thanks for sharing this post with us.
    Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Under 20000My Profile

  26. TU VAN KY THUAT April 18, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    Sometimes I am blogging up to three times a day! Then some days it’s just once. It really depends on where my schedule is. I have been told time and time again to find a “blogging rhythm,” but it’s just not how my brain works. My blog focuses on a variety of topics, and people have complimented me on the fact that I don’t really have a “niche” and they never know what to expect.

  27. Ravi Chahar April 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Submission of a sitemap to the Google Webmaster or Bing webmaster is the first step to take when any blogger is setting up a blog. Sitemap is the only way to make search engines aware about the post you write at your blog. It contains the URLs of all the posts which have to get indexed in search engines. Suppose a blogger is writing his/her post daily but not getting any visitor, it mean sitemap is missing. The post written will not get indexed in any search engine and it is not possible for the readers to see your post.
    Thanks for the post.
    Ravi Chahar recently posted..10 Most Common Blogging Mistakes Repeated By Newbies : Every Beginner Should KnowMy Profile

  28. Noor Basheer April 27, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Submitting our Site to google webmaster does Matter. I have noticed lots of change in my SERP after doing that.

  29. Sagar
    Twitter:
    April 28, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    Nice and very informative post

    The above mentioned three important points are very important in the search engine optimization scenario. Although these steps are done at the end, It should never be ignored as it surely makes a difference. Creating a sitemap is very important on page optimization technique.

    It helps the search engine to find all the pages connected in the site.The procedure of creating it is also very easy as shown in the above article. Submission of your website in to Google webmaster tools and getting it verified is also very important. All these steps just take few minutes but will help you in the long run. So it is better if we never ignore these steps,

    Thank you for sharing.
    Sagar recently posted..20 Easy Ways on How to Increase Response Rate of an Online SurveyMy Profile

  30. Robert May 5, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Great points, but that is not all, I mean those are not only steps which website owners forget to do. Some forget on friendly URL’s, expires headers, redirection…, and also very important thing – web hosting.

  31. Tajinder May 5, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    Hello Andrew
    I read many blogs and they all say that build an sitemap and submit it into google webmaster but i didnt get the full explanation with each and every step and now after reading your article i have done all the steps correctly and perfectly.Thanxx for sharing your knowledge with new blogger like me.

  32. Muhammad Mairaj
    Twitter:
    September 20, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    Hi Andrew,
    I am totally agree with my friend Ravi as he says in his comment that submitting Sitemap on Google and Bing is the first step through which search engine aware your blog posts and it is helpful way to index quickly. Over all your article is informative, inspirational and instructive.
    Thanks for sharing nice info.

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