where you need to put it on your site. However you create it, the resulting
Sitemap document contains the list of URLs that you want Google to crawl and,
if you wish, additional data such as how often the page is updated and how
important each page is to you.
• To get Google to notice the Sitemap, you must sign up for a Google Sitemaps
account and perform a few steps so that Google can identify and validate your
file. With all this squared away, you’re in business.
• Using your Google Sitemaps account, you can review basic data about your
URLs, including whether they were indexed, which (if any) errors they returned,
and what search terms your visitors used to find them. You can even view
PageRank summaries of your site’s pages and get your hands on some other cool
tools: page analysis,
info, and more. This data is not the same as
Google Analytics (which is much more detailed and customizable), but it’s great
for finding red flags.
Google Sitemaps, essentially, allows two-way communication between you and
Google, which, as you learned in Chapter 4, “How the Search Engines Work Right
Now,” is a relatively new and wonderful thing. Using Google Sitemaps
rank higher or increase your PageRank, and it doesn’t guarantee that your pages will
be indexed. But it can certainly give your deep or dynamic pages a fighting chance!
You can sign up for your Google Sitemaps account here:
Your SEO Plan, Week 7, Tuesday: Task Journal Investigation
In Chapter 8, we advised you to spend a day working on items in your Task Journal. If
your Task Journal isn’t yet filled with dozens of fascinating ruminations, here are some
ideas to get you out there and investigating:
• Is there a site that offers an award for your organization’s product or service?
Can you get your site in the running? Try a search for “[your product] web
award” or “[your industry] web award”.
• Can you search for your site in a way that causes your meta description tag to
show up on the search engine listings? Try searching with your URL only or
with text that appears only in links to you but isn’t on your site. Is your meta
description tag showing up the way you expected? Do you see any funny charac-
ters? Did it get cut off earlier than you expected?
• Similarly, try to find searches that make your Open Directory or Yahoo! Direc-
tory listing show up in the results.
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