Submit a sitemap to Google

Am I the coolest guy on the planet?


I have completed this step.

What is a site map XML file?

Especially if you have a large, complex site (which I don't recommend, by the way) you will want to create an XML site map for submitting to Google via the Google Webmaster Tools interface.

The XML site map file that you submit to Google will tell Google where all of your pages are located, thus ensuring that your site is properly crawled. This is especially useful if your site is dynamic, based on scripting like PHP, and has places where the Google crawler might get "trapped" and stop crawling.

An example of this is a dynamic calendar. Let's say that you have a blog that has a calendar on it. By clicking various links on the calendar, the user is moved forward or backward by days, months and years, and can view posts made at those times.

That's nice, but the problem is that Google's crawler might get caught in a never-ending loop of going further and further back on the calendar. If the calendar is script-based and simply displays the previous day/month/year by clicking links, the Google crawler will never reach the end of it.

These kinds of traps can cause the crawler to abort and give up on your site when it figures out that it's not really getting anywhere.

To help the Google crawler know which pages are content pages that should be crawled, you can create a site map XML file and submit it to Google. This is good for you because your site gets properly crawled, and good for Google because they have access to the content they want to serve up to the searchers.

Creating a site map XML file

My favorite tool for creating the XML site maps that Google can read is this one.

It's Java-based, and supports multiple threads (up to 9), so it crawls your site and generates the site map really fast. It created the site map file for this site in about 3 seconds. Not bad, 'eh?

Each time you add new content to your site, regenerate your site map and resubmit it to Google. That way Google is always aware of your fresh content.

Submitting your site map file

Once you have a site map file, you need to submit it to Google via their Google Webmaster Tools interface. Just upload the site map XML file to your web site and point Google to its location.

There's really nothing to it.

My Philosophy

Personally, I feel that you should always create a site map file for Google, just in case, but that you really shouldn't need one.

If your site is structured in such a way that the Google crawler has a problem getting anywhere, then you need to rethink your structure. Google did webmasters a favor by making the site maps tool available, since they know it's easier to give people a crutch-tool to use than it is to get them to build their sites properly.

But really, you should be able to design any site so that it's easy to crawl. It should have a "Table of Contents" style structure:

  • Home Page
    • Major Sub-Topic Page
      • Content page.
      • Content page.
      • Content page.
    • Major Sub-Topic Page
      • Content page.
      • Content page.
      • Content page.
If you need to go more levels deep, fine, just make sure that you stick to that layout. Deviating from that can confuse a crawler and prevent your site from being properly indexed.

All information contained here is Copyright © 2007 by Jonathan Leger.
Submit any questions or comments to me at