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Do you have an XML Sitemap? [SEO Wednesdays]

Every site should have an XML Sitemap. What’s more, it needs to be updated permanently, or it can even be counterproductive. So, does your site have one …and is it up-to-date?

An XML Sitemap is a list of all the pages and other documents on your website, formatted in a way which search engines can easily read. It’s not of interest to human visitors, but it lets the search engines know where they should go, what pages they should index and even how frequently they should revisit the pages.

On most sites, the XML sitemap is given the filename sitemap.xml, so you can find it at http://[your domain name]/sitemap.xml. If that comes up with nothing, that doesn’t mean you don’t have one; it might have another name. One way of telling the search engines its location is to use your “robots.txt” file, so try http://[your domain name]/robots.txt and it might tell you there. Finally, you could try Google Webmaster Tools (it’s under “optimization”).

If you still fail to find an XML sitemap, you really do need to get one installed. How you do this depends on how your website is built and maintained, so you may need to go back to whoever set it up. But it’s worth sorting out.

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