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Matt Watson

Matt Watson Chief Technical Officer

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A sitemap is how you tell search engines what pages are available for crawling on your website. A sitemap is an XML file that lists all the urls for your website.

Sitemaps are not required, and search engines will spider your website with or without one. However, sitemaps allow you to tell search engines specific pages you want spidered that they perhaps couldn't find otherwise. This is very important, especially if your website uses a lot of Flash, Silverlight, javascript, or frames. Most dealer websites do use a lot of these technologies. Your sitemap can also tell the search engines how often to spider your website and when your website content has changed.

Sitemaps should also by dynamic (changed daily!), and not a static file created once in a while by your website or SEO provider. Your sitemap should include all the URLs to your inventory detail pages. This will allow search engines to spider your inventory detail pages which will help with your SEO on long tail search key phrases.

If setup properly, your website should have a robots.txt file with a reference in it to your sitemap file. This will allow ALL the search engines to automatically discover your sitemap and process it.

Here is an example:
http://www.garycrossleyford.com/robots.txt

Notice this line in the file:
http://www.garycrossleyford.com/sitemap.xml

The sad part is, VERY FEW website providers provide a robots file and dynamic XML sitemap!

Check with your website provider to make sure you have a dynamic XML sitemap.

Matt Watson
Chief Technical Officer
VinSolutions

 

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