|Creating Google Sitemaps for Magento sites|
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Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is a plain text file that lists URLs for a website. A Sitemap can also be provided in an XML format that includes additional metadata about each URL so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
All major search engines use the same format for their sitemaps. Magento refers to them as “Google Sitemaps” but they are actually supported by the Yahoo! and Microsoft search engines too, and probably other search engines as well. The common sitemap format is documented at http://www.sitemaps.org/.
Creating sitemaps in Magento
Magento can create Google sitemaps automatically. Sitemaps are defined in Top Menu > Catalog > Google Sitemap. Magento sitemaps contain the URLs for Category pages, Product pages and CMS pages.
Once you’ve defined your sitemaps, you can manually generate each sitemap by clicking on the Generate link.
Note: Magento writes sitemap XML files to the main Magento directory or one of its subdirectories. If you use separate server accounts for each store in a multi-store setup, you may have to copy the sitemap file into the directory structure of each account to give the search engines appropriate access to it.
Providing a sitemap to the search engines
The easiest way to provide a sitemap to the search engines is to link to it from the robots.txt file for the website. The Sitemap directive in robots.txt tells search engines where the sitemap is located.
You may also register each sitemap manually. To register a website and its sitemaps in the search engines, use the links below:
- Google Webmaster tools
- Yahoo! Site Explorer
(note: The Yahoo API will be shut down as of September 15, 2011 referenced here)
- Bing Webmaster Center
There is now a free extension which will submit your sitemap to several major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask) automatically. It’s called ‘Sitemap Submit’.
Refreshing sitemaps at regular intervals
Magento can be set up to automatically refresh Google Sitemaps at regular intervals. This function is configured in Admin > System > Configuration > Google Sitemap.
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