My last blog post talked about using descriptive page names when naming your pages. This effected the title tag (valuable space for search engines) and the URL for the page. Those end up being very important keywords that the search engines rely on. Part 5 of "How to improve your search engine rankings (SEO) using [email protected] and other methods" explains how to setup a Google and Bing site map.
An XML sitemap will help search engines understand what pages it should index on your website. It is a list of links that are provided in a special format.
There are may sitemap generators that you can choose to use but the one I recommend is http://www.xml-sitemaps.com. Just fill in your website address in the box and click start. Save the XML file to your computer and the upload it to your website. If you are using [email protected] you would upload this as a document.
You then need to sign up for a Google Webmaster Account. If you already have a Google account you can use that to sign in with or just create a new account. You can create or sign in at http://www.google.com/webmasters/. Once inside you need to add your site and you can then submit your sitemap under the optimization tab. If you are using [email protected], the path for the sitemap would be usercontent/documents/sitemap.xml. It will confirm that the sitemap has been submitted.
Next we can add the same sitemap to Bing Webmaster. You can create or sign in with a Microsoft account at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster. Once inside you also need to add your website to your account and click "Configure My Site" and then "Sitemaps". If you are using [email protected] you can enter http://www.mywebsite.com/usercontent/documents/sitemap.xml (replacing mywebsite.com with your website's domain name) otherwise that path will depend on where you uploaded it to your website. Bing Webmaster should also give you a confirmation that it has been successfully found. If not, check the path you entered.
Other search engines will automatically look for the same sitemap file to use. You can update it whenever you want so the search engines will index new pages.
Come back for Part 6 where we will talk about the use of h1 and h2 tags for headers and subheaders to tell the search engines what is important about that page.