What are Sitemaps?

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

A way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate. They help produce a SERP Map too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

A sitemap file is hidden from human visitors, but search engines like Google and Bing can see it.  The sitemap helps search engines easily see all the content on your site in one place.

Why do you need a sitemap?

Without one, the only way for those bots to find all your content is by following links on your site. So, if you have any pages on your site that aren’t linked to often, or it takes a lot of links to reach a certain page, there’s a chance that Google won’t find those pages and they’ll never end up in search results.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.

Sitemaps are something most of our clients are not aware of. Sitemaps help search. Sitemaps are free and easy to add, they are simply a way to communicate with search engines to tell them which pages you want looking at to help make the search engine crawl (a robot clicking through your website) easy and accurate.  They help produce a ”SERP Map” too, a multi-link search engine result on Google and Bing.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters (the person who looks after your website) to inform search engines about pages on websites that are available for crawling.  In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.  So a more often updated website will be more attractive to search engines.

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites.  Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata.

Using the XML Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides help for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.  XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It’s a markup language similar to HTML, but its main purpose is to organise data.

How to set up a site map

You can generate a site map from your host provider or admin panel.  WordPress for example provide a site map automatically now.  A site map link looks just like a website address with .xml on the end. Then submit it to a search engine.

WordPress provides a sitemap as standard now (5.5.1).   If you already use an SEO tool to boost your website traffic, no action required.

Benefits of Upgrading to the New WordPress 5.5.

WordPress

New with WordPress 5.5.

Speed. The speed of a website is important, Google prefers faster loading websites as a faster website provides a better experience for the visitor.

With WordPress 5.5 posts and pages feel faster, thanks to lazy-loaded images.  Images give your company story a lot of impact, but they can sometimes make your site seem slow.  So it advisable to make sure you optimise your images, size them about 1000 to 1500 pixels wide and reduce the resolution (they don’t have to be high-resolution images unless you are printing).   In WordPress 5.5, images wait to load until they’re just about to scroll into view. The technical term is ‘lazy loading’.

On mobile, lazy loading can also keep browsers from loading files meant for other devices. That can save your readers money on data – and help preserve battery life.

Search.  Add a  sitemap for search.

WordPress sites work well with search engines, especially if fresh rich content is added.  For example; updates from your company, case studies, answered FAQs etc.  A site map is a way of letting Google and Bing etc to know which pages you want crawling and telling them your site has been updated. This can produce much better search results and in some cases, a multi-linked SERP map (search engine results page map).

We at Zedcomms always add a site map to our client’s sites using plugins such as Yoast or All in One SEO but now this feature is included with the latest WordPress software.  WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover you’re most important pages from the very minute you go live.

So, more people will find your site sooner, giving you more time to engage, retain, and convert them to subscribers, customers, or whatever fits your definition of success.

This is a good move for WordPress.

Tip – Hit update just once; When updating your WordPress site to 5.5, click the update button only once. It looks like it has not responded, wait a while and it will do the job.  Hit it a few times and the site may get – lest say confused.

How to test a website is indexed on Bing and Google.

Website Indexed

How long does it take for a website to be indexed?  – To show in the search engines.

Although it varies, it seems to take as little as 4 days and up to 6 months for a site to be crawled by Google and attribute authority to the domain.  When you publish a new blog post, site page, or website in general, there are many factors that determine how quickly it will be indexed by Google.  A longer-established website will index better and rank higher, add to this an active website, plenty of unique content and active on social media this all helps to index better with Google.

Google Spoil Us, they automatically index our websites

Most of us simply publish a website and ‘as if by magic’ Google includes (indexes) our website and publish search results.  This is great, indeed the service from Google has improved over the past 20 years.  Google improves its algorithms and searches technology to benefit the searcher. Google is motivated to capture as much rich data (the text on your website) as possible from your website so they can produce accurate search results for their customers.  

How to check your website is indexed.

Put this in the search bar site:yourwebsitename.co.uk

Once Indexed The Work Begins

Simply showing in a Google search will not be good enough.  You need to make sure you rank high for your chosen phrases.  To do this your website should be optimised – page by page.  This means making sure your page content is descriptive, the cornerstone content text is added to the META sections, you don’t overdo it,  you write in an understandable and easy to read way and your website is not stagnant.

The website was always meant to be a changing platform, never a brochure online and Google penalise stagnant websites.  So, updating often is a must.

Social media is huge, we live and breath it.  Your customers devour it therefor if you are a business owner you must be involved with at least the to socials.

Top search engines | Most Popular Search Engines in the World

Google 75%
Still the king in Europe and the USA.

Bing 28%
– Bing replaced MSN Search as Microsoft’s answer to Google in 2009. Launching with just 8.4 percent of the search market share, they quickly crossed 10 percent, and in a deal, later that year to power Yahoo search rose to 28.1 percent.  In 2016, they added AOL to the sites they provide search results for.

Baidu – China
– Baidu was founded in 2000 and is the dominant search engine in China with over 82 percent market share in China where Google comes in at 0.61 percent and Bing at 0.37 percent.

Yandex – Russia
– The term Yandex was adopted in 1993 standing for “Yet Another iNDEXer.” The Yandex.ru domain was launched in 1997.  In 2011, they went public on the New York Stock Exchange with an IPO of $1.3 billion making it the second-largest at the time (right after Google).  Yandex currently powers more than half of all searches in Russia.

Redirect Pages To Streamline

301 redirect

Lost?  You may have an established link on a directory or a search result that links to a specific page in your website but you’ve changed the exact URL.  To avoid embarrassment and loss of an interested client use 301 Re-Direct.

301 redirects are pretty simple. They’re used to redirect one webpage to another.

Often missed as most of us don’t search for our own website too often.  Do so every now and then or ask your website guy to check for you that all links to your pages find a page. You also need to make sure that people actually visit the HTTPS version of your site, which means using a 301 redirect between the HTTP and HTTPS version.  Yoast has a standard option within the settings area.

301 redirect Allows You To ‘Redirect’ An Established Link To A Chosen Page.

Another way to clean up your search and links it to tell Google things have changed by updating your Site Map.

You want Google to crawl every important page of your website. But sometimes, pages end up without any internal links pointing to them, making them hard to find. An XML sitemap lists a website’s important pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all

 

 

Who We Work With

Who We Work With

There are not many businesses who don’t benefit from digital and been online, so we work with all business types.

Saying that we have built an understanding of a few industries in recent years:

Homecare and Nursing Retirement homes.
We manage digital communications for care homes.

Restoration and Reupholstery Businesses.
Marketing and finding new target clients.

Manufacturing Business.
Promotion of produced items.

Installation Companies.
Marketing of services and build of sales enquiries.

We love learning and working with all businesses, we have worked with some clients for over five years.  The common thread is we help improve the business.  Contact us to see what we can do for you.  Order a Marketing Evaluation 

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