Anyone that has owned a website for some time or is involved in promoting their website will probably know all about submitting sitemaps to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.
A sitemap is essentially a list of URL’s or web pages of a particular site laid out in a format that tells search engines what pages there are in the site.
This saves the search engines the time required to look through all the links of a site before it finds all the pages. This can help speed up the indexing of new pages and pages that change on a regular basis.
It has recently become much simpler to make search engines aware of your sitemap due to an agreement between the major players in the industry.
All webmasters need to do now is reference the location of their sitemap in the robots.txt file.
http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/robots-generator/ is a good place to look if you are not familiar with robots.txt files.
If your sitemap location is http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml, in your robots.txt file you simply need to add:
According to the Yahoo Search Blog as referenced above, the major search engines will now all recognise this as a valid instruction.
So far it looks like the following Search Engines are onboard: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, IBM
One of the best free xml sitemap generators I have used can be found here:
It uses java so you may need to update the Java on your PC but you will be prompted if you do.