When I first heard about Google sitemaps I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. I didn’t see why we should have to make Google’s life easier. Surely it’s Google’s job to index our site, not the web developers job to spoon feed it information! Infact if practically any other company had tried to impose it’s rules on web masters, I’m sure they would have been rudely ignored. However the big G, with all it’s traffic is just too important to be ignored, so web developers in their masses have started to abide by it’s rules and produce lovely XML based sitemaps for their sites.

Basically a Google sitemap is a very simple XML document, which just lists all the pages on the site, along with the date it was created, the priority of the page and how frequently it changes. A sample sitemap looks something like this:


Once you have created your sitemap, you should tell Google where it is, by signing up to Google Webmaster Tools. Now I could go on all day about Google webmaster Tools, as they are very cool. Especially the statistics you can generate, but this isn’t what this post is all about, so I’ll resist the temptation to go off the point any further, suffice to say that every good web master should acquaint themselves with atleast some of Google’s tools for webmasters.

Back to the task in hand.

Another method of ‘submitting’ your sitemap is to include a reference to it in your robots.txt file using the following format:

Sitemap: <sitemap_location>

Auto Generating your Sitemap

If you are anything like me, you’ll have websites which are dynamically generated and therefore can contain millions of pages! Creating a sitemap manually would be virtually impossible, or the biggest waste of time imaginable, that’s why I was so relieved to find the Free Sitemap Generator. It’s a brilliant site which will create a nice shiny sitemap for you. It takes a couple of days due to the level of processing required and the number of people using the service, but it’s really great and worth the wait! Well done Free sitemap generator people, and thanks!

Is it worth submitting your site?

Well that’s a good question, and I’m going to sit on the fence a little. I’ve always tried to make sites which get indexed effectively, so if your website is already in the index then I don’t see the point in creating this sitemap, on the other hand if Google starts getting lazy and only updating it’s index to include sites with a sitemap, then it becomes critically important to have one, but at the moment I don’t see this happening any time soon. So is it worth it? Well yes I think so, if you use a service like Free Sitemap Generator, it only takes a few minutes to setup and if it helps my sites get indexed better then it’s alright with me!