A Sitemap for Google Webmaster Tools

Finally, I did it!

What: I added a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools today for my Typepad based blog. I splashed out and bought Rage SiteMap Automator for $30. Its a bit more spendy but its made for Mac, only a week old, works great, and unlike those horrible PC programs for sitemap generation, it doesnt look like an explosion in a light bulb factory. If my site had less than 500 pages, I could have created a sitemap for nothing on one of those cheap and tacky sites, but with over 5000 pages and 135,000 links, I needed something more robust. No regrets!

Why: Because when you have lots of posts, Google doesn’t know what to put forward and Google Webmaster Tools allows you to guide the Googlebot around your site and show it the things you are most proud of and the things you want to hide. I talked about this problem and some other workarounds in my blogging tips for 2007. But this is a far better solution. There are other reasons to join Google Webmaster Tools like seeing what people type into the search engine to find you and locating dead links, naughty html, introducing a new site to Google, etc but submitting a sitemap is a big reason to join up.

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Thats what the code looks like for each URL. You can change the frequency Google looks at it and the priority. Very cool!

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How: Rage Sitemap Automator crawled my site and after I had designated the posts I felt were more important than others ( 1.0 being top and 0.1 being lowest) I copied and pasted the code into text editor and saved it as sitemap.xml and pasted the whole thing into a new index I created inside Typepad. Thanks to 1532technologies for some advice and encouragement on working with Typepad. And yes, you need Typepad Pro for the advanced features here.

Then I had Google check it a few times before it found it. And there it is. My next step is to go through my blog and grade my posts as important or less important and thus train the Googlebot to go where I tell it. And I might also do a few megaposts and give them priority.

Related: 15 Blogging Tips


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • I think that is very cool! I’ve been blogging for a while, and I fade in and out of it. I also fade in and out of reading blogs. Sometimes I feel like it takes me out of the real life around me; yet it’s the writing that I enjoy, too. So, I really appreciate your sabbatical idea.
    I’ve read your blog for several years, and I have always been curious what your day to day life is (catch some of it at times). And I’ve kind of wondered how you make a living; pay the day to day bills.
    I’ve been trying to figure out (and be better than I think I have been) what it means practically to follow Jesus, be a husband, father, give myself to the body of Christ, and make a living…I just find it such a difficult balance.
    I’ve done the house church, traditional church, and hopefully settled somewhere in between. I’ve had good and bad experiences in both, and see good and bad tendencies to both – mostly though, I find it a cultural issue. Finding myself at the leadership of a new church startup,I’ve been constantly asking the question: what kind of “form” does a church take to best tell about and live out Jesus in the culture I live in?
    At the moment, it’s leaning towards a traditional church with a socially active center. But that’s developing…
    anyways…how do you make a living/pay the bills? And what is your thought on your current balance to life?

  • hi matt. answer is a mixture of things. i raise support to do mission work, do consultancy for mission agencies and church denominations, and we are hoping some small business enterprises will give us more self-sustainability in the long term.

  • robots.txt and siloing are far better ways if you want to really target spidering. XML sitemaps are there more for pushing content that normally wouldn’t be spidered.

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