XML Sitemaps for Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com

There has been great improvements in the XML Sitemap industry with MSN (Moreover.com) and Ask.com now accepting XML sitemaps to improve the indexing of your web sites.

How To Create Sitemaps

If you are using a WordPress blogging platform like mine, you should download and install Google Sitemap Generator beta version 8 and the Yahoo Sitemap converter script as soon as possible. The Google Sitemap Generator script now pings to all the search engines I mentioned above.

For non-WordPress web sites, you may require a PHP script like the XML-Sitemaps.com Sitemap Generator script to generate an XML and Text file based sitemap for you automatically. This script took me about 2 weeks to get it right. I bought the script when it was version 2.5.3 and I could not get it to run on my site properly due to memory leaks and other bugs with the script. During the same time, other customers were also experiencing similar problems and we started to complain to the author about the crazy amounts of memory required to run this script. Finally, the author fixed some of the memory issues and released version 2.6.0 at the end of July and everything has been running smoothly for me ever since.

Read my review of the XML-Sitemaps.com Sitemap Generator if you would like to learn more about this script.

How To Ping the Search Engines

You could use the free service or software at the Search Engines Sitemap Submitter to submit your sitemap to Google Sitemaps, Yahoo Site Explorer, MSN (Moreover.com) and Ask.com at the same time. The scripts mentioned earlier will have a ping option for you to automatically alert most of the search engines once your sitemaps have been generated

How To Create Google and Yahoo Webmaster Accounts

You will need to create a Yahoo and Google account to access their webmaster tools. Yahoo has a Yahoo Site Explorer area while Google has a Google Webmaster Central area for webmasters. After adding your site to your accounts, you will have to upload a special “HTML verification key” to your web site to verify your ownership of your web sites.

After you have verified ownership of your sites, you may submit the URLs of your sitemaps to Google and Yahoo. Unfortunately, MSN and Ask.com do not have webmaster portals yet. As a result, I have no idea if my submissions to them are working or not.

The Art of Timing Your Sitemap Submissions

I personally use sitemaps to try to boost the indexing of my web sites after most of my web pages have been indexed. For example, if a web site of mine has a total of 20 pages and 10 of them have been indexed by Google, I submit my sitemaps to try to get the search engines to index the remaining 10 pages. I do not use sitemaps for a totally new web site because I am afraid Google or the other search engines might think of me a spammer. This is purely speculation on my part and I may be wrong.

However, I do know that if you have a black hat web site and you inform Google of all your spammy black hat web pages with sitemaps, be prepared to have your site black listed immediately and disappear from Google.com. Sitemaps are the “kiss of death” for black hat web sites but if you’re a good webmaster that creates valuable content for the internet community, the search engines will literally “eat up your site” and index most if not all of your web pages after you submit your sitemaps to them.

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