So you’ve got a shiny new website? (Best. Feeling. Ever.). But is it showing up in search engine results? Contrary to popular belief, Google is not omniscient (shock horror, I know!). Google doesn’t magically know about every new website that is ever launched. It also doesn’t know when you’ve added a new page or deleted an old one. We have to tell it!
The way to do this is through a little thing called a “sitemap”. Think of the internet as an ever-changing planet. New towns, and houses, and streets are popping up all the time. In order to get those places on the map, we have to alert the right person. Not only that, we have to make sure the right person has the right information about our new town, or street, or house. In the case of a new website, Google is the most important “right person”. And everything they need to know about your website is housed in a special (and looong) piece of code, called a “sitemap”
Sitemaps are a virtual blueprint that guides search engines to index the pages of your website. It’s a condensed version of your site that helps search engines to find, crawl and make a log of all of the content available there. If paired with your SEO practices and strategy, it will help you bring traffic to your website and increase your ranking in the search results.
Your sitemap tells Google that your Showit website exists and that you want it to show up in it’s search engine rankings. Sitemaps are important for SEO because they make it easy for Google to find all your website’s pages. Remember that Google ranks web pages (including individual blog posts) and not just whole websites.
It’s important to keep your sitemap updated as you make changes to your website. You’ll be able to rank higher in search results by using a combination of SEO strategies. These include keyword optimisation, content marketing, link building and the list goes on. So, as your sitemap tells you which pages of your site are the most relevant, you also need to offer value through good SEO practices.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is a simple, two-step process and you should be done and dusted within ten minutes. Let’s get started!
First we need to find your sitemap! There are two ways that you can do this.
You might be wondering, “What if I have both a Showit website and a Showit blog? Do I need to submit two separate sitemaps or just one?”
If you only have a Showit website, then you only need to submit one sitemap. On the other hand, if you have a Showit website and blog, you will need to submit two sitemaps, one for your website and one for your blog. The main reason is to ensure that all pages are crawled and indexed by Google. It’s an efficient way in classifying and categorising the content in your website. We highly recommend that you submit multiple sitemaps especially for pages that are constantly being updated or highly-classified such as portfolio pages and landing pages. This helps better your online visibility and enhances your SEO.
Once you’ve published your website, Showit will automatically generate a sitemap for you, yay! You can also find your sitemap by going to: yourdomain.com/siteinfo.xml.
Simply place in your own domain. For example, using Hello Magic Studio’s domain: http://hellomagic.io/siteinfo.xml.
Our preferred method of generating a sitemap for blog posts is by installing the Yoast SEO Plugin. Since blogs will be regularly updated, this is a good practice to benefit from a sitemap so that each post can be indexed easily by search engines.
If this is your first time to use Google Search Console, you will be required to make an account. It’s free and easy if you already have a Google account.
You’ll then be asked to select a property type.
1. Add your domain name in the Domain field and follow the instructions to complete the verification process.
2. In the sidebar, select your website.
3. Click on “Sitemaps”. The “Sitemaps” menu is under the “Index” section.
4. Enter your sitemap URL in the “Add a new sitemap” field.
5. Click “Submit”!
And you’re done! Once you’ve submitted your sitemap to Google, your website is on it’s way to being found and ranked in the Google search results. Remember to repeat this process anytime you make an update to the structure of your website, by adding or deleting pages.