Why use a Sitemap for your Joomla! site?

in RSSeo! on 08 Dec 2009 having 5

This article will answer to common questions about Joomla! sitemaps like :

  • why use a sitemap? RSSeo! - Joomla! seo extension
  • how to notify Google, Yahoo! and Bing about the generated sitemap?
  • site verification
  • sitemap updates

and at the end of the article you will find some recommendations for Joomla! sitemap generators.

Before answering to above questions, let's clarify the differences between the HTML sitemap and the XML sitemap.


What is a sitemap?

The HTML sitemap is a collection of links created to improve the human experience across a website.
The XML Sitemaps are files in special formats, sitemap.xml and ror.xml created to inform search engines about new content. The accepted format by http://sitemaps.org is XML.
A XML sitemap includes, besides the crawlable links of the site, extra information like:
  • how often is the content of a page modified,
  • the last update
  • how often should the search engines crawl
  • priority: each page will have assigned a note between 0,1 and 1.00 to indicate its importance (by default is 0.5)

  • It is recommended to submit sitemaps for search engines in a XML format (though the links in a HTML format are crawlable by search engines, submitting a Sitemap in a HTML format to search engines will display some technical errors).


    Why use a sitemap for your Joomla! site?


    • you can inform search engines about URLs that may not be discoverable by crawlers in the absence of a sitemap.
    • you can help search engines to better understand the site structure (usefully for large sites or sites with dynamic content as Joomla! is )

    • you will be provided with valuable information when submitting the sitemap in Google, Yahoo or Bing webmasters accounts : possible crawling errors, the number of indexed URLs, meta tag issues, duplicate content, etc
    • the crawlers can discover new content faster, so the number of indexed pages and the number of pages present in SERP may increase.


    However, there will always be differences between URLs submitted and indexed URLs, and submitting a sitemap will not guarantee that all site URLs will be indexed.

    Joomla!, like other CMS, has some issues with links that are creating duplicate content.
    Duplicate content refers to the same content accessed trough different URLs:

    http://www.myjoomlawebsite.com
    http://www.myjoomlawebsite.com/index.php

    forcing search engines to distribute the pagerank between those 2 links.

    Ideally, an URL must point to unique content and unique content must be referred by a single URL.

    Why are we referring to duplicate content when the article is about sitemaps?

    Because the crawler has a fixed bandwidth value for every site, that can be used to:
    • index an increased number of pages with unique content or
    • index multiple links with duplicate content: The result? Fewer pages present in SERP (search engine page results) and lots of pages present in supplementary index.
    So, the crawler could use the bandwidth to index 10 links that point to the same content or could discover 10 new pages with fresh content. Duplicate content is a reason why a crawler may index fewer pages and may not discover fresh content. Although the issue can not be entirely solved, there are ways to reduce the amount of duplicate content.


    Before submitting a Joomla! sitemap, create 2 empty files and save them as sitemap.xml and ror.xml in the root directory (this is the location where search engines are looking by default).



    How to notify Google about the location of the sitemap ?

    There are 3 ways to notify Google that you submitted a sitemap:

    • sign up for a Google Webmasters Tools account and submit the Sitemap: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools
    • send a HTTP request or ping Google: type in a browser the following URL and replace myjoomlasite.com with your domain name http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=http://www.myjoomlasite.com/sitemap.xml
    • include in robots.txt the location of the Sitemap file:
      Sitemap: http://www.
      myjoomlasite/sitemap.xml


    How to notify Yahoo! about submitted sitemap?

    Yahoo! supports the ror.xml format and the sitemap.xml


    • sign up for a Yahoo! account and submit the sitemap directly to Yahoo! Site Explorer: http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/submit
    • send an HTTP request using the ping API : type in a browser the following URL and replace the domain name with your own
      http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/ping?sitemap=http://www.myjoomlasite.com/sitemap.xml
    • include in robots.txt the following line of code (whether you send a HTTP request or use robots.txt, don't forget to replace the domain name with your own):
      Sitemap: http://www.myjoomlasite/sitemap.xml


    How to notify Bing about submitted sitemap?

    • you can ping Bing by sending an HTTP request to
      http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=www.
      myjoomlasite/sitemap.xml (replace myjoomlasite.com with your own domain name). This method can also be used when you change an existing sitemap
    • sign up for a Windows Live ID (in case you don't have one yet) and submit the sitemap directly to Bing http://www.bing.com/webmaster


    Site verification:

    To be able to access site's statistics, you need to verify site ownership in Google, Yahoo and Bing.

    Although site verification is made when a site is added to webmasters accounts, search engines are recommending not to delete the verification files because they will be checked periodically.


    When you should update the Sitemap in Joomla!?

    If the content or maybe the structure of the website was modified, you have the option to update the Sitemap in webmasters tools by clicking the "Resubmit" button.
    (it is not recommended to make a new sitemap every time a change is made)


    Is there an easy way to create a Sitemap for Joomla!?

    • Google offers a sitemap generator tool that implies some Python and server knowledge.
    RSSeo! is under continuous development, so if you have feature requests GET INVOLVED and VOTE for them on RSJoomla! User Voice.



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    Gravatar
    Steve Day - 27.09.2012 (15:12:45)
    Thanks

    Much appreciated. I have been learning on my own and this helps.

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    mubarak - 14.02.2012 (08:17:37)
    RS SEO.

    hi,
    Really Nice examples to learn for freshers and all kind of people

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    fazal wadood - 07.11.2011 (23:51:16)
    sitemap

    i do not make sitemap for joomla using rsseo.

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    0

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    Joomla Freelancers - 09.03.2011 (04:15:34)
    Joomla Freelancers

    Gone through the entire post and explained the concepts of joomla nicely with good examples wherever needed.

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    1

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    Hire Dedicated C# developers - 20.05.2010 (01:52:35)
    Why use a Sitemap for your Joomla! site?

    would be very helpful for the joomla people

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    1

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