I’m not much for Swiss Army Knife software.When I find a Mac utility that works, even a one-trick pony, everyone needs to know.
If you manage web sites then you know the value of Google’s search engine. Make searches easier with Google Sitemap Automator.
The problem for anyone who designs, builds, or manages web sites is getting visitors to the site. One of the chief ways is for search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and others, to “crawl” your web site and index all the relevant pages.
If all goes well, those web pages show up in the search engines, and people click links and find your web site. If all goes well. It’s much more complicated than that.
The Sitemap Protocol lets you list all the pages on your web site in a single file so the search engines only have to visit one file to find out which pages to index. It’s a process that’s better for your site, better for your site’s web servers, better for the search engines, better for people searching for information.
The problem is in the creation of the XML file that lists all the URLs for a site. Enter Google Sitemap Automator, a one-trick pony that does a very Mac-like thing. It works.
Google Sitemap Automator (GSA) makes easy that which is a bit of a pain for those of us who manage web sites.
GSA is a Mac utility that scans your web site and creates the specially formatted sitemap files for the search engines.
GSA also leaves information in the file so the search engines know which pages to index, how often to come back and look for fresh content, and even how important each page is. It even notifies the search engines when it changes your sitemap file.
The value here cannot be understated. GSA can be set to list only those pages you want, eliminating duplicates or pages you don’t want indexed by using built-in filters which you control. That makes for more efficient indexing by the search engines, which could result in higher search result rankings, which means more visitors and more page views.
Google Sitemap Automator even publishes the sitemap.xml file automatically to your site and then notifies each search engine (Google, MSN, Yahoo), that the file has been updated. GSA also displays where you web site shows up in search engines with your keyword selections.
The setup process is straightforward. Click the New Sitemap button. Enter the URL of the site you want to scan. Click the Scan Web Site button. Wait.
GSA scans the site and lists every page it finds. Delete the pages you don’t want listed, add priority ranking to others.
That’s the process I used for my personal web log, Ron McElfresh which runs on a Mac mini sitting on my desk. GSA scanned the site and found 145 pages. I eliminated CSS files, and other files not needed in the search engine, and was left with 137 pages. It took one click to generate the sitemap, and another click to notify Google, Yahoo, and MSN of the update.
There are many ways to create a sitemap.xml file. Google Sitemap Automator is one that does it like a Mac utility should. Simple. Straightforward. It works.
Could it do more? Yes, but then it starts to become Swiss Army Knife territory. The very name “Google” Sitemap Automator is probably out of place since the sitemap.xml file it creates also works on Yahoo and MSN search engines, but that’s nit picky.
GSA also works on Mac users .Mac account web sites, though the XML file needs to be uploaded manually, thanks to Apple’s non-standard way of setting up web sites.