When I was first learning how to submit XML sitemaps to search engines, I found all the information I needed, however, the information was spread out amongst several sources. My intention is to create a quick reference guide on how to submit your XML sitemap to all of the major search engines (in one convenient location).
If you have no idea what a XML sitemap is, or you are interested in learning how to create one, be sure to check out the precursor to this post: How To Sitemap: Creating XML Sitemaps.
You can wait for the search engines to spider your site and find your XML sitemap via the robots.txt file. Or, you can manually submit your XML sitemap to the major search engines. Personally I’d do both. Submission doesn’t take that long and it doesn’t affect your site negatively.
Please keep in mind that the following search engine submission steps only apply to static sites. If you install one of the XML sitemap plugins for a CMS based site mentioned in my previous post, you will have different steps to follow specific to that plugin. In most cases search engine submission is automatic once you have the plugin installed.
Google XML Sitemap Submission
Webmaster Tools provide valuable information on how your site is crawled (including errors). I personally find Google’s Webmaster Tools to be the most useful and recommend submitting your XML sitemap this way.
Once you have your site setup in Google Webmaster Tools, login and go to the dashboard on the left. Under Site configuration click on Sitemaps then simply click on the Submit a Sitemap button and enter your website address alongside the location of your XML sitemap: www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.
Yahoo! XML Sitemap Submission
To add your XML sitemap to Yahoo! visit Yahoo! Site Explorer.
After you login with a Yahoo! email address you’ll encounter two options:
- Submit a Website or Webpage
- Submit Site Feed
Select Submit a Site Feed and enter your site URL alongside the location of your sitemap: www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.
You can also choose to authenticate your site and utilize the free tools offered by Yahoo! Site Explorer.
Bing XML Sitemap Submission
Bing also provides useful crawl information in their Webmaster Center. You can add your site to a Bing Webmaster Center account here.
First you need to login with a Windows Live ID (you can create a Windows Live ID with any email account). Once you are there you'll see where you need to enter in your site URL alongside the address of your XML sitemap: www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml. Next you simply follow the steps provided for authenticating your account and you’re good to go.
Alternatively, the quickest (and easiest) way to submit your sitemap is via an HTTP request. This might sound complicated. In reality it is incredibly effortless.
Simply copy and paste the following URL into your web browser. Replace www.yoursite.com with the actual URL of your site. If it works properly you will see a thank you page. And that’s it. You’re done!
Ask XML Sitemap Submission
While you’re on a roll, submit your site to Ask.com. It only takes a matter of seconds, so you might as well. Submit your sitemap via an HTTP request (like the Bing example above).
All you need to do is copy and paste the following URL into your web browser. Replace www.yoursite.com with the actual URL of your site. If the submission works properly a thank you page will be displayed after you hit enter. Easy smeasy.
If you choose to set your site up with any of the webmaster accounts, be sure to go back and check the data at a later date. The engines need time to collect data, so keep checking back!
For any additional information on sitemaps, a good resource is www.sitemaps.org.
Stephanie Woods is an internet marketer living in Kelowna, BC. You can find her at her (very) new internet marketing blog. She has also been known to frequent Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing.