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What can you do to help your website get more traffic from natural search engine traffic? Do you really care at all? Well, if you plan to make some cash from your website, you should care. Why? Optimizing your website for search engine traffic is like the most cost effective method of marketing your website. Among the easiest way to make your website search engine friendly is by adding a sitemap for your website.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap basically is a list of all the pages in your website. There are two forms of sitemaps. One for your readers and the other for search engines and webcrawler programs.

For your readers, the sitemap is merely a page on your site that acts like a Table of Contents. It organizes all your internal pages according to their corresponding topics or categories. Take a look at the Technology and Computing Tips Sitemap as an example.

Sitemap Generator PluginThe Sitemap for Technology and Computing Tips is created by the Sitemap Generator Plugin from Dagon Design. That’s the good thing about running a website with WordPress. The existence of plugins such as this makes life easy for web administrators of WordPress sites. With the plugin installed, all that’s needed to create a sitemap page for your readers is to create a page in wordpress and insert this script –

<!-- ddsitemapgen -->

The rest, as they say, is history – Your Sitemap page is then generated automatically by the plugin. Isn’t that just nice and dandy?

For the search engines, a slightly different sitemap is required. A sitemap for the search engines need to follow a certain standard. This is because, the search engines are using programs that read the sitemap to obtain information about your website. At present, the Sitemap protocol is in version 0.90. This Sitemap protocol is currently widely adopted by Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. What this means – the major search engines in the internet is now able to crawl and index your pages better if you have a sitemap.

For those of you who still prefers to run a flash based site, you would probably want to create a sitemap file of your site specifically for the search engines.

XML Sitemap GeneratorI’ve just installed the Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator for WordPress into the Technology and Computing Tips. The plugin automatically generates an XML Sitemap that complies with the Sitemap Protocol. Once again, thanks to the availability of such plugins, the generation of the sitemap file is automated in WordPress. Take a look at the Technology and Computing Tips Sitemap File as an example.

However, bear in mind, there is no guarantee that your website will be indexed as soon as you have your sitemap. The search engines also do not guarantee that pages listed in the sitemap will be indexed. Don’t fret though. At the very least, you are assured that should the search engines come crawling to your site, they have a sitemap to assist them in indexing your pages.

I think I’ll monitor the traffic to this site. See if the traffic increases at all now that I have a sitemap installed.