site_map_picAs an internet marketer, it’s important to understand a number of basic concepts about SEO, since how well you optimize your site can have a major impact on how well your site performs in search engine rankings and, consequently, how much traffic and potential income you can generate from the site.

In this post, I’ll talk about an often overlooked point of SEO: site maps.

What is an SEO Sitemap?

A site map is an XML document that contains an index of all of the pages you have published on your site. XML simply stands for a type of markup language used by programmers and computer-generated robots (like search engines) to read and manipulate data.

The good news is that setting up a site map is easy, and can be a one time process. There are plenty of existing scripts out there that allow you to plug in a snippet of javascript code into your site, which will update the site map automatically as the page detects and new content updates.

This is an action best performed daily, so it’s good there’s a way to do it automatically.

How to Add a Sitemap to a WordPress Blog

There are a number of different ways you can add a site map to your website, but if you’re using WordPress the easiest option is to use the Google XML Sitemaps generator plugin. Note that there are a variety of site map plugin options to choose from in WordPress, and the one choose is not the most important decision you’ll make for your blog, since they all do pretty much the same thing.

I like the Google XML Sitemaps generator because it is a simple, two-click setup process that auto-generates an XML site map at the address: The plugin also routinely checks for updates to your site, and will make adjustments to the site map accordingly. You can set it for daily, weekly, or monthly updates, and I always select daily, even if I’m not updating my site everyday.

Submitting a Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

sitemap_webmaster_toolsOnce you have your site map setup and functioning properly, the next step for you to take is to submit it to Webmaster Tools.

Theoretically, Google should eventually find the site map sitting on your website anyway, but submitting to Webmaster Tools can speed up the process and help you rank in search more quickly.

The reason it’s important for search engines to recognize your site map is because this is one indication the crawlers will use to determine how frequently your site is updated and, consequently, crawled and indexed.

Thus, site maps are a quick and easy step you can take to help make sure that search engines are indexing all of your site content as quickly as possible. Once the search engines are aware of your updates, the time it takes to crawl the page and rank for various keywords may vary dramatically, but by including a site map on your website you’ll at least know that your site is already in the queue.

If you want to learn more, you may want to check out one of the full affiliate courses, which go into more detail about SEO best practices.