Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Create a Search Engine Sitemap

Although my genealogy website has been on line for many years I have not bothered to include an XML Sitemap for use by search engines, although, naturally, I had a sitemap for humans. However, to have a decent ranking it is becoming more important that an XML sitemap is included, especially for Google and Bing.

Naturally, being a genealogist, I am a reluctant payer, and I searched for a free sitemap creation program. I could not get the Google Sitemap Creator to install on my PC, so I looked at site after site using Google, all of which had a limit on their free entries of between 500 and, say, 3000 pages. I have almost 9,000 pages on my site, so they were not of much use. I then came across Xenu.

Unlike the other programs which created the sitemap on-line, with Xeno you download the program, and run it on your own PC, which was when I realised that there was an unexpected bonus with this program, it has a Link Checker! Actually, this may be the main function of the program, but by this time I was suffering from tunnel vision! So I ran it, and it tested the links on my 8,600 pages in 44 minutes, identifying a number of broken links of which I was unaware - brilliant.

The XML Search Engine Sitemap was created in no time at all, and I uploaded it to the root of my site and submitted it to every Search Engine I knew. I now await with interest to see if the visits to my site increase. The program also produces a report of its activities whilst searching your pages but, probably because of the size and depth of my site, it took far too long for me to wait until it completed its work.

It was never my intention to use this Blog to promote software, however I am making this exception for Xeno because (a) it is free and (b) it is perfect for the job I wanted it to do, and more. I rank this program as my "Find of the year".

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