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A Sitemap for Google Webmaster Tools

Finally, I did it!

What: I added a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools today for my Typepad based blog. I splashed out and bought Rage SiteMap Automator for $30. Its a bit more spendy but its made for Mac, only a week old, works great, and unlike those horrible PC programs for sitemap generation, it doesnt look like an explosion in a light bulb factory. If my site had less than 500 pages, I could have created a sitemap for nothing on one of those cheap and tacky sites, but with over 5000 pages and 135,000 links, I needed something more robust. No regrets!

Why: Because when you have lots of posts, Google doesn't know what to put forward and Google Webmaster Tools allows you to guide the Googlebot around your site and show it the things you are most proud of and the things you want to hide. I talked about this problem and some other workarounds in my blogging tips for 2007. But this is a far better solution. There are other reasons to join Google Webmaster Tools like seeing what people type into the search engine to find you and locating dead links, naughty html, introducing a new site to Google, etc but submitting a sitemap is a big reason to join up.

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Thats what the code looks like for each URL. You can change the frequency Google looks at it and the priority. Very cool!

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How: Rage Sitemap Automator crawled my site and after I had designated the posts I felt were more important than others ( 1.0 being top and 0.1 being lowest) I copied and pasted the code into text editor and saved it as sitemap.xml and pasted the whole thing into a new index I created inside Typepad. Thanks to 1532technologies for some advice and encouragement on working with Typepad. And yes, you need Typepad Pro for the advanced features here.

Then I had Google check it a few times before it found it. And there it is. My next step is to go through my blog and grade my posts as important or less important and thus train the Googlebot to go where I tell it. And I might also do a few megaposts and give them priority.

Related: 15 Blogging Tips