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View Full Version : Site maps - how important?


Steve
01-15-2009, 04:01 PM
I think many of us have heard about site maps for websites but how important are they?

Can someone shed some light on this topic?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 04:18 PM
an XML sitemap tells search engines where to go and how often....so yes every site needs one.

An example of one can be found here

http://www.thelawnblog.com/sitemap.xml

Another form of sitemap is to create a page tree for your visitors and is not equally important.

Steve
01-15-2009, 04:44 PM
Richard,

For the average lawn care business owner, how do you suggest they go about putting one together for their lawn care business site?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 04:48 PM
it is as simple as going to this website

http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

well ok....I may be ignorant sometimes to peoples understanding of how this stuff works. And what I may call simple, others may be pulling out their hair about it. If anyone needs help or would like to know more they can always contact me about it.

I create mine through a plugin for wordpress. You just need to set some parameters and off ya go.

Steve
01-15-2009, 04:57 PM
Ultimately it seems the sitemap is not about being a directory of all your webpages but more of some coding to tell search engines when to visit your site and how often?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 05:03 PM
Generally...so many things affect so many things.

it is specially important to me running my blog as it updates all the time. I can release an article and have it in the search engines within the hour (fastest time was 10 mins....however I may been at the end of the submission cycle). If your content never changes I wouldn't call the robots so often...it wouldn't matter cause they wouldn't come if your site does not update its content.

You also need to let google and yahoo know where your sitemap is located.

Steve
01-15-2009, 05:06 PM
This brings up an interesting point. In another post we were talking about pingomatic or whatever that was that sends a signal I am guessing to search engines that you have an update on your site. What is the difference between something like that and a sitemap?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 05:14 PM
well there is a difference. Sitemaps are installed on your server and you are telling bots when to come to your site and check for new content. If you don't hold up your end of the bargain and don't have newer content when you told them to come, you can slide...believe me Google wants your new content as much as you want to be ranked #1. But they wont work for nothing...you need to pay them with content.

Pings are a service that you manually (or through cron jobs) tell certain websites that you now have new content so send someone (bots) over to add it. There are thousand of ping service companies out there that say they are the best...IMO...just stick to the big boys (search engines) and trustworthy directories and you'll do fine in that department.

Steve
01-15-2009, 05:19 PM
Pings are a service that you manually (or through cron jobs) tell certain websites that you now have new content so send someone (bots) over to add it. There are thousand of ping service companies out there that say they are the best...IMO...just stick to the big boys (search engines) and trustworthy directories and you'll do fine in that department.

Do you think this is something that a lawn care business owner should be concerned with?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 05:21 PM
well I am not saying that they shouldn't be concerned with it. However it may not be as important to them as it would someone who updates their site on an hourly basis.

I would still use some form of pings when you update your websites content...any site for that matter.

Steve
01-15-2009, 05:32 PM
I am guessing this is why lawn care business owners should consider using something like wordpress to base their website design on?

ritchiem
01-15-2009, 05:57 PM
thanks for the pitch Steve...I am not going to say that wordpress is the saving grace of online presence. I will however say that wordpress is probably the best SEO platform out there...but you still need to know what you are doing for SEO...its not a 'poof' type of thing. It is the best site to learn on how to update your content. Setup and customization can be a pain, but it is worth it.

Steve
01-15-2009, 10:52 PM
Richard,

Can you tell us why some site have links for their sitemap while others do not? Is it important to have a sitemap link? Will search bots find them and make note of them or do you have to do this manually and let the search engines know of their existence?

Steve
01-19-2009, 07:21 PM
Also,

I was looking at Richard's and another forum member's site map and they apeear different.

Richard's looks like a list of links while the other looks like it is filled with more code.

Why do these differ and what difference does this make?

ritchiem
01-19-2009, 08:00 PM
that is only because my sitemap has a stylesheet....if you were to view the source code on my sitemap you'll see that they are the same.

Steve
01-20-2009, 06:58 PM
Thanks!

I noticed there are a bunch of settings, like how often the search engines should visit a certain page. How important are these settings?

What if you have them come too often and you don't have any changes? Or what if you have them come not often enough and you do make changes?

Quality-Hosting
01-25-2009, 03:07 PM
I think something that should be added to this discussion about SEO, sitemaps etc... is that having a website for your "geographic specific" lawn care business, needs to be just that, targeted for your location.

You have hundreds of millions of searches each day on Google, Yahoo and others and you are not trying to compete on a national or worldwide basis, you are only competing on the search engines with the companies that a local to you.

Think about it? When a person gets on the internet to search for a company to mow their lawn, they are not going to search for the words lawn care and scroll through 10 million sites to find one in their city. They are going to be "geographic specific", they are going to search on terms such as "lawn mowing houston tx" which will provide a few hundred. This is where you want target where your site ranks.

All I am saying is to not get to caught up about SEO as you are not trying to be the first link on Google's page and certainly don't pay some SEO company that says they can get you a TOP 10 listing.

Steve
01-26-2009, 12:08 AM
All I am saying is to not get to caught up about SEO as you are not trying to be the first link on Google's page and certainly don't pay some SEO company that says they can get you a TOP 10 listing.

What do you suggest the average lawn care business owner who has a website do, to make their site more "geographic specific" friendly?