In Chapter 7, we explore the best ways to ensure your content is indexed by search engines. One of the fastest and most accurate ways is to create master lists of URLs in the form of XML Sitemaps. This format is the accepted standard for all search engines, as explained at Sitemaps.org (the site maintained by the consortium of search engines that developed the standards).
The following is a list of the main tools used to develop these files. Note that many Content Management Systems (CMS) can generate sitemaps, too, but if your CMS can’t, you should consider one of these applications.
|XMLSiteMaps.com||This is an online tool to create XML Sitemaps for up to 500 URLs. It offers basic error detection. The premium version can handle Video and Image XML files.||Free 500 URL’s/Premium $19.99 + plugins|
|Screaming Frog||This all-purpose spider tool offers XML Sitemap generation capabilities that extend the reach of the crawler. One notable function is to correct removed URLs with redirects to the canonical version. It does not create Image, Mobile or Video XML Sitemaps. It is available in Macintosh, Windows, and Ubuntu versions.||Free 500 URL’s/Premium ~$150 annual|
|IGooMap||Roboust XML Site Map builder that can crawl large and small sites easily. It does not create Image, Mobile or Video XML Site Maps. It requires Macintosh.||$24.95|
|A1 Site Map Generator||This is the workhorse of the Sitemap tools, with the most robust functionality and the best customer service. It has great error checking for redirects and page canonical tags. It can break up XML sites into multiple smaller versions and create the index file. It contains a powerful crawler, and can crawl over one million pages. It requires Windows.||$69|
WordPress XML Site Map Generator Plugins
|Yoast SEO Plugin||This is one of the best SEO plugins available for WordPress and has a built-in XML Sitemap function that can update the XML after each post is made.||Free/Premium $89|
|XML Site Map Builder||Rock solid XML Sitemap builder plugin that generates dynamic XML files after each update.||Free|
No matter which XML Site Map Builder you use, you need to manually check your tool for problems. Monitor any tool periodically in your Webmaster Tools account and fix errors as quickly as you can.