Importance of a Sitemap: How to Submit a Sitemap for Blogger Blogs?
A sitemap is paramount for proper search engine indexing and ranking. It will relieve you of the trouble of submitting each individual page you write to search engines. Here, we will see the importance of a sitemap, its benefits, and the method to add a sitemap for your Google Blogger blog.
Google normally crawls and indexes all post pages on your blog. However, at times the spiders miss pages. Usually they are standalone pages (without links from any other page). To see which of your pages are indexed, Google this search term: “site:your URL” (notice there is no space after the colon). Google will list all the indexed pages in your URL. I recently happened to find that a few pages in CuteWriting were not in Google index, which made me do what you are reading.
When your blog is rather new, you may not see much increase in traffic even if you post regularly; the reason may be that only your home page is indexed on the search engine and no individual post page. This may rob you of a lot of search engine traffic.
If your blog has dynamic content, updated daily or weekly, a sitemap is definitely in order. Another reason is that your internal pages may not be properly interlinked. Search bots occasionally access your site for crawling and indexing, and they crawl to new pages through links from the indexed ones. This will exclude the standalone pages.
Effects on SEO and Traffic
Lack of a sitemap will not affect your site’s SEO (Thank God!). Any indexed page on your site will still show up without any errors, and will not be ranked low. The only effect of the lack of sitemap is on your traffic.
The reason why a blogger continues to add content is to see a steady traffic growth. Without proper indexing, only your home page will rank on the search results, showing you a horizontal jagged line on traffic analytics. We prefer jagged climb instead!
Hard working bloggers may add hundreds of posts to their blogs in a year. Just imagine that fifty of your posts are not indexed. You are losing a hundred visitors they could bring daily.
How to Add a Sitemap to Your Blog?
You can add a sitemap to your blog by using an online sitemap builder that will crawl and list all pages of your site into an XML file automatically.
You can use the XML sitemaps or a normal HTML sitemap with Google. The HTML sitemap is nothing but a directory page on your site, listing links to all pages on your website, in a category order. The visitors will appreciate this feature, just as the search bots. Once the sitemap file (XML or HTML) is ready, upload it into your server and put a link to it from your Google Webmaster Tools account.
You can sign up with Google Webmaster Tools. You need to verify your website or blog in Webmaster Tools, by following one of the verification methods provided by Google (Meta tag authentication or HTML file upload.)
Once the blog is verified, you can add a sitemap to it. Just follow the instructions in Webmaster Tools to add the XML file.
Here are some online services that can generate a sitemap for your blog. I haven’t tested any of them, and don’t recommend any one in particular. Most of these are free, though some are limited. Just try them out and give your opinions.
Important! If You Use Offline Sitemap Builder
When you run a sitemap builder program on your system, make sure you are not logged into your site. If not so, the dumb sitemap generator will crawl and list post and comment deletion links and their confirmation links, while you are sleeping. In the morning, you will be left with an empty blog and a sitemap with nonexistent links. Therefore, make sure you are logged out of the site when you run the offline sitemap builder.
How to Add Sitemap to Blogspot?
In Blogger blogs, normally you cannot add an XML sitemap, since you can’t upload files to Blogger. However, there is a good alternative. You can use your Blogger Atom or RSS feed as your sitemap. In order to activate this, follow these guidelines.
1. Sign into Google Webmaster tools, with your Google account. (Follow signing up and verification of your blog if you haven’t already done so.)
2. Now, go to your website profile and click Add under Sitemap.
3. Choose the type of Sitemap as General Web Sitemap.
4. In the field provided, just complete your feed URL. Normal blog feed URL is “blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default.” So you need to only add “feeds/posts/default” to the text box provided and submit it.
5. If you have used FeedBurner to burn your feed and have put it as your default feed in Blogger feed settings, then instead of “feeds/posts/default” use “feed/posts/default?rss.”
The sitemap will not have an immediate effect. The feed will automatically include all your posts, and Google can periodically access it to crawl and index newer pages. From now on, all your posts will be automatically indexed.
A sitemap can bring a truckload more visitors to your site. If you check some of the high-ranking sites, you can find a link to their sitemap on the home page itself. The importance of a sitemap in search indexing should never be underestimated.