XML sitemap is a special sitemap protocol, which is introduced firstly by Google to help search engines index websites more efficiently. It is not only a list of all URLs of a website with hierarchical structure, but also includes additional information about each URL (the date it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is for the whole website). The following is an example of a XML sitemap with one URL(you can find explanation for the code on the right side):
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<loc>http://www.example.com/?id=who</loc>……………………… (location of this page)
<lastmod>2011-12-12</lastmod>………………………………(last time this page changes)
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>…………………………(how often this page changes)
<priority>0.8</priority>……………………………...(how important this page to the website)
XML sitemaps are mainly geared for search engines to easily and more efficiently track all the URLs of a website, and to keep them informed of the up-to-date information about each URL. By listing all the URLs and all the related information in an XML site map, you can make all of your web pages more visible to search engine crawlers (especially for those that may not be discovered by the normal crawling process), and notify search engines every time you create new content.
Therefore, building a XML site map for your website can be of great help, so as to let major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing, and Ask) better index your website (every page listed on your sitemap as well as all new added content will get better indexed). What's more, with such a sitemap, your website rankings will be improved since all of your SEO work cannot be left unseen by search engines.
XML sitemaps are especially important to these sites:
A brand new website without many back links
A website containing a lot of archived content that is not well-linked
A website with lots of pages and complex hierarchy
A website with indexing problems and no desired rankings
A website with a large number of dynamic pages
The complete process of building an XML site map for your site is composed of creating, uploading and pinging. Manually building such a sitemap for a site with numerous pages would be very back-breaking and meticulous, for any error in the syntax would end up with an invalid sitemap for major search engines. Therefore, applying a sitemap tool to building sitemaps would be your best choice.
SiteMap X is the best free sitemap tool that combines all the functions that are necessary for sitemap building:
1. Create. Quickly crawl your sites and generate standard sitemap in minutes. Create accurate sitemaps according to your requirements and report site problems like dead links to you as well.
2. Upload. After creating sitemaps, SiteMap X will automatically upload them to your favorite FTP server. Or you can use the built-in FTP Client to manually submit your sitemap at any time. What's more, you can also just set a schedule and let SiteMap X automatically generate the sitemaps and upload the files to your own site.
3. Ping. SiteMap X can immediately ping search engines after you uploaded or updated your sitemap. It will also notify search engines if any change has been made in your web pages. This function will quicken the indexing speed and help your site obtain better freshness and coverage.
SiteMap X will save you lots of time and energy to build an accurate XML sitemap for your website. And the most important—you need to spend no money to get the fully functional version!
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I have spent lots of time in finding a trustworthy sitemap tool to build my website a standard and accurate sitemap. But what I found were either expensive or with limited functions. SiteMap X really came as a big surprise for me—it is totally free and fully functioning!
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It really saves me a lot of time, money and energy to have all my web pages indexed by Google. With the sitemap it built for me, my site's rankings also keep on increasing. This little tool helps me get rid of the trouble that has pestered me for a long time! Good work, guys!