Sitemaps

Every site should have a site map.  A site map is just an xml file that lists all the unique pages that you want to be index.  You are literally telling the search engines “Hey, these are the pages that I think are the most important”.  It should sit in the root of the web site and should be called “sitemap.xml”.  You can call it anything you want, but it seems to be an industry standard.  I know WordPress.com uses the “sitemap.xml” convention.

Here is a simple peek at a two page sitemap:

 <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance” xsi:schemaLocation=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9 http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9/sitemap.xsd“>
  <url><loc>http://www.us-eh.com/</loc></url>
  <url><loc>http://www.us-eh.com/Services.asp</loc></url>
</urlset>

For sites that are less then 500 pages, you can use the free online Sitemap Generator at XML-Sitemaps.com  For sites with more then 500 page, you can use Xenu by Tilman Hausherr.  This piece of magical software will create your site maps, but it does so much more.  I will talk about its extended abilities some other time, but for now, once you get your sitemap in the root directory, you need to tell Google and Bing explicitly where to find it.

In both webmaster tools there is a place to submit a sitemap. Below is Google’s place.
Google's Sitemap submission

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