Google Webmaster Tools and sitemap.xml file
May 7, 2009
Once your website is up and running, you will want to let search engines know about it so that they can start indexing your content. We have just released two new functionalities that will make the process easier and more efficient:
- Website verification with Google Webmaster Tools
- Automatic sitemap.xml file generation
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free utility from Google that gives you visibility over your website index statistics.
Once you have an account with Google Webmsater Tools, the first required step is to verify with Google that you are the owner of your website. This is done by adding a meta (hidden) tag called "google-site-verification" to your home page.
The verification process is easy:
- Retrieve the meta tag value from your Google Webmaster Tools account.
- Go to the "Tools" tab of your website.
- Click the "Google Webmaster Tools" link.
- Paste the meta tag content as provided by Google.
UGAL then outputs this meta tag on your home page and Google knows that you are the rightful owner of the website. You can access your crawl statistics and other metrics for your website.
Note: information updated 11/27/2009 to reflect new verification method used by UGAL.
Automatic sitemap.xml file generation
Another utility useful to search engines is a sitemap XML file. It is a computer readable file (XML format) that lists all the pages of your website. Providing a sitemap.xml to the search engines insures that they do not miss any page of your website when they index it.
UGAL now automatically generates a sitemap for your website. It is always available at http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml (replace www.yoursite.com by the name of your website), and it is updated as soon as you make a change to your website.
Note that the sitemap.xml file is useful to all search engines, not only to Google (it is a standard format).
Publishing a sitemap.xml file and following your crawl stats with Google is a very good start to improve your visibility with search engines. Those 2 features are a direct result of your feedback and suggestions. If you are other ideas or requests to improve your website visibility with search engines, you know how to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy search engines hits!