There are nearly 1 billion websites online. Considering the Internet is less than 25 years old, that’s impressive. Or, if you’re a business owner trying to get your site to stand out, maybe a little scary.
After all, your site won’t shoot up Google’s page rank just because you made it. In fact, unless you’re proactive, there’s a chance your site won’t show up in Google at all.
So what’s a site owner to do? First, you’ve got to understand…
How it works
Websites don’t end up on Google, Yahoo! and Bing automatically. They only appear in search results after web crawlers find and index your site.
More plainly, search engines have programs that scour the Internet, looking for new or updated content. When they find it, the content is reflected in their search results. In other words, the question for new sites is: how do I get found?
Get their attention
Without a lot of other sites linking to your site (a common way web crawlers discover sites, and a way to improve your search rank), you have to take action. The best thing you can do is submit a sitemap to key search engines.
So what’s a sitemap?
A sitemap is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a blueprint of your website, highlighting all the pages—even if you don’t link to them (like a 404 page, for example).
Site owners can submit them to search engines, which find them extremely helpful for indexing all your content. It’s a win-win, because your pages can be found, and they can index everything.
How you get a sitemap
The trouble with sitemaps isn’t with how they work—it’s that they can be incredibly time consuming. In order to have all your content indexed, you have to create and submit a new sitemap every time you update a page. This, as you can imagine, is tedious—and not to mention a waste of time for most business owners.
That’s why we encourage people to use a sitemap generator. It takes the headache out of the process by automatically creating a sitemap, and submitting it to Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The process can be scheduled, or you can have it make one on demand as you add new content that needs to be found.
Get a sitemap generator
An easy way to get rolling with one is through the McAfee SECURE certification. You’ll not only get a sitemap generator, but many useful tools, including a diagnostics feature that checks to see if your site has any small, common problems. Check it out!