Updated: May 17
In the past thirty days, we've had the privilege of helping out small business customers with the task of moving their web site from one platform to another. Perhaps your small business needs a web site overall, too! One problem we routinely encounter when updating web sites or creating/deleting/modifying content is removing dead links from old web sites listed or stored in a given search engine such as Google. Dead links are encountered every time a developer creates a new site and essentially overwrites the old site and are displayed in search engine results. These dead links form 404 errors, making prospects assume the small business may not be reputable. To avoid this perception whenever new web site content is created, we "force" the major search engine to literally visit the web site through a crawler or electronic robot shortly after the web site content is promoted to the publically facing webserver. This activity ensures web site content is continuously updated and appropriately indexed by the search engine Google and other search engines such as Yandex and Bing. The tool we utilize is called "Google Web Master Tools", which has now been renamed "Google Search". In this brief article, we will explain at a high level the activity required to force Google to update its search engine with newly added - deleted - or modified web site content.
In order to work with Google Search (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools), you must have a GMail email account. Once established, utilize your favorite web browser (Google, Safari, or Opera) and sign in to your GMail account.
(sign in with your Gmail user name and passcode to GMail by visiting www.gmail.com URL [uniform resource locator])
While signed in to GMail.com as referenced above:
Click "Search Console" button in the upper right. step four
In the upper left drop-down, click "Add Property"
- or -
Follow prompts to add your web site
You will see a progress bar indexing the site and a success message displayed on screen.
Locate and click on the left hand side submenu "Sitemaps"
CREATING THE SITEMAP.XML FILE
You have to have a sitemap at the root level in a file called "sitemap.xml" To create a sitemap, click this link and find the sitemap generator you most like (there are 10):
Please note: if you don't have access to the root file directory - or - if you don't understand how, consider hiring a professional.
CMS PROVIDED AUTO GENERATED SITEMAP.XML FILE
it is entirely possible your CMS Content Management System) has a built in feature which essentially provides a sitemap.xml file at the root level without the developer needing to literally manufacture one and upload to the root directory. For example, WIX has a sitemap.xml file as part and parcel of its setup, making it possible for you to skip the aforementioned step of making an XML based sitemap.xml file.
AFTER SIEMAP.XML IS AVAILABLE AT ROOT DIRECTORY THROUGH ONE OF THE ABOVE METHODS
In this case, all you need to do is reference the sitemap.xml file in a fully qualified URL as follows, for example:
Click the "Submit" button.
step six Wait 72 hours for this change to propagate through the internet and through Google.
Test the changes by going to Google by typing your web site name into the search box. For example: http://www.mysite.com
If there are 404 errors on dead links, as returned by Google in the list, please read the next article in this series, titled "Resolution of Google Web Site Search Errors"
If you are facing these issues with your company, don't go it alone, reach out to a trusted expert. This is definitely a skill in our wheel house. Call or SMS text 812-821-0335.
- Or - send email to firstname.lastname@example.org