What About A Sitemap?
You may have heard that having a sitemap is a good idea and helps your SEO. A
sitemap is a page that links to every page of your blog – it’s like a “map” of your
entire blog structure broken down usually by category or date.
Note there are two types of sitemaps – an XML one which is used to submit
directly to search engines (more on this below) and a standard webpage with
In my opinion, focusing on attracting links to your blog is a smarter practice to
get your blog into search engines. The fact is, getting into the engines is easy,
rising high in the rankings is hard - and that’s why you need to get good at
However it certainly doesn’t hurt to also have a sitemap AND submit it directly to
Google. This, in most cases, will get you into the Google index. Just don’t expect
page one rankings for competitive search terms until you start building links.
Step 1: XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is a list of all the pages and posts in your blog presented using
the XML coding language.
Thankfully you do not need to know XML, you just need to create an XML sitemap
and then tell Google where it is.
There is a WordPress plugin that will create an XML sitemap for you. If you are not
a WordPress blogger you may have to skip this step or find an appropriate plugin
for your blogging software but if you are using Blogger.com for blogging you made it easier for yourself because blogger blog did all this automatically.
You can download it and find installation instructions for the WordPress plugin
I strongly recommend you go do this now.
The next step, once you have the sitemap, is to go to Google Webmaster Tools,
log in with your account (it’s the same username and password as you use for
Gmail - you will be asked to create an account if you don’t have one already) and
then submit your sitemap.If you are not familiar with how to do this, please watch the helpful video provided
by Tubetorial.com -
This is a critical step, so please take the time to get this done.
Step 2: Static Sitemap
A static sitemap is a bit simpler than an XML sitemap. In this case it’s a plain blog
page that lists links to every post and page in your blog in a tree-format style
To set up a static sitemap once again WordPress bloggers are in luck because you
can use the Dagon Design Sitemap plugin here -
This is not a easy plugin to install, so you may need to seek assistance from your
tech person to make it work how you want it to.
Once it is set up it will generate a plain list of links to all your blog posts and
pages broken down by category.
Sitemaps Are Important, But You Can Succeed Without Them
I’ll tell you a secret – for a long time I never had a sitemap at my blog. I
managed to get my blog indexed because I wrote regular content and attracted
lots of incoming links naturally. When you do this the search engine spiders
return to your blog over and over and you don’t have to worry about having a
Another reason why blogs are so good for search engine rankings is that they
usually have “next” or “previous” links at the end of each content page, which a
person can use to navigate back through all the older content. Blogs also contain
category and date based archives. These features are generated automatically by
the blog software - you probably have them already.
All of these internal linking systems mean that every page of your blog is
interconnected to every other page of your blog, which the search engine spiders
can follow to index your content. This is the key to a good internal linking
structure for SEO.
You can analyze your linking structure and make changes to focus links to your
most important pages, but even if you did absolutely nothing, your blog,
especially if it is WordPress, is already structured well. So you can breath a sigh of
relief now :-).
Should You Buy Links For Your Blog To Help With SEO?
The simple answer is no, especially in light of Google’s crackdown on link buying.
Google don’t like you buying links to improve search engine rankings. It’s okay if
you do it to purchase raw tra!c (i.e. people clicking the link and visiting your
site), but if Google thinks you are doing it to artificially inflate your search
rankings you can get slapped with a penalty - which will decrease your search
rankings - the opposite e"ect.
A blogger never needs to buy a link just to get into the search engines. It’s
very easy to accomplish this simply by blogging and interacting with other
Another important point to remember is that once you have one site that is
indexed by the search engines you can put a link up on it to your new blog to get
it into the search engines. If you already have established websites online or have
friends with blogs or websites that have been online for a while, all you need is a
link from these to achieve your first goal of search engine optimizing your blog -
inclusion in the index.
Traditional commercial sites sometimes buy links since they do not update
content regularly and need to attract incoming links in other ways.
People rarely link to a site that is filled only with sales pages, hence the flurry of
commercial sites making use of text link brokers and buying links directly from
high authority sites. However this is not a natural linking process and is one of
the reasons why commercial sites are adding blog components as part of their
overall search engine optimization strategy - so they can attract natural links.