For an introduction to your store's sitemap, see "How to Create a Sitemap".

As a business owner, you probably already know about the importance of showing up in search results. It’s how you earn traffic, which can turn into big dollars for your store. 

So how do you make sure search engines know about you? You could jump up and down and scream your name until the Google-masters hear you. 😱  But a better way is to create and submit a sitemap for your store.

What’s a Sitemap? 🗺️

A sitemap is a list of your website’s pages. It can be used by site visitors to navigate your store, or by crawlers to tell search engines about the content that you have on your site, so they can serve it up in appropriate search results.

Creating Your Sitemap(s)

Before you can submit your sitemap to search engines, you’ll need to create it. For an introduction, check out our article dedicated to "How to Create a Sitemap."

Keep in mind that some search engines (like Google) have a sitemap size limit of 50,000 URLs and 10MB. If your store's sitemap exceeds either of these limits, you'll need to manually break up your sitemap into multiple pieces.

To do so:

1. First, download the sitemap by going to:

http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/sitemap.xml

2. Right-click anywhere on the page to bring up your browser's context menu.

3. Select Save As or Save Page As (depending on your browser) and enter a location and name for the file.

4. Open the file in a text editor such as Windows Notepad or Notepad ++ 

5. Cut and paste the contents into smaller files, being sure to add the XML tags at the beginning and end appropriately. This means that each of the smaller sitemaps must start with:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<urlset xmlns='http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84'>

and end with

</urlset>

6. Label your sitemap files in a way that makes sense to you (for example: sitemap1.xml, sitemap2.xml,and so on).

7. Once you've created the files, you'll need to create a sitemap index using the following format:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<sitemap>
<loc>http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/v/sitemap1.xml</loc>
<lastmod>2004-10-01T18:23:17+00:00</lastmod>
</sitemap>
<sitemap>
<loc>http://www.yourvolusionstore.com/v/sitemap2.xml</loc>
<lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod>
</sitemap>
</sitemapindex>

Name your index file something like yourcompany_sitemapindex.xml, and use it to reference the specific file names you used for all your other sitemap files.

8. Upload the sitemap files and the index file to the highest level of your FTP (the /v/ directory).

9. Because sitemaps must be at the same level as the file in which they're indexed, you'll need to create several 301 redirects in your Admin Area at Settings > Maintenance > Manage 301 Redirects. For example:

Source Path = /yourcompany_sitemapindex.xml 
Target Path = /v/yourcompany_sitemapindex.xml 
Source Path = /sitemap1.xml 
Target Path = /v/sitemap1.xml 
Source Path = /sitemap2.xml 
Target Path = /v/sitemap2.xml 
Source Path = /sitemap3.xml 
Target Path = /v/sitemap3.xml

Submitting Your Sitemap To Search Engines

Once you’ve created a sitemap and ensured that it’s broken into small enough files to be accepted by the likes of Google, it’s time to submit them. Just follow the instructions on their webmasters’ information page, and you’ll be good to go.

Summary

Let’s face it, if your store isn’t showing up on search engines, it basically doesn’t exist. 😟 Search engines are the number one way people find products they intend to buy online. So get your sitemaps created and submitted ASAP, and don’t miss out on the opportunity to have people lining up to shop your store! 🚶‍🚶‍🚶‍ 

If the thought of dealing with code and sitemap files makes your head spin, drop us a line! Volusion has experienced website programmers you can hire to handle the heavy lifting for you. 🏋️

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