"Last February, I started working on a project to add all of the 400-plus online newspaper websites' sitemaps to Bing, which is now complete. This may help boost referrals from Yahoo & Bing - Search and News."
This is an email I received from Don, SEO & analytics manger for GateHouse News Service. Naturally, I thought, what a great opportunity to blog about sitemaps –– sounds real interesting, huh?
OK, so I don't bore you completely, I will explain sitemaps in the context of newspaper SEO, which is all we really care about anyways, right –– page views!
According to Wikipedia, "The Sitemaps protocol allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling."
English: Every page on your website has a URL (universal resource locator), and search engines have the momentous job of indexing and organizing all of them. Search engines have spiders that "crawl" every website it can find in order to index all their Web pages.
However, in order to ensure that the major search engines find your site and crawl your website as often as possible, you can submit a sitemap to Yahoo, Bing and Google via Webmaster Tools. This is essentially a list of all the URLs on your website available for crawling. You can describe what each page is about so search engines better understand what category your site fits and where to rank you.
This doesn't guarantee that your page views will increase or your rankings will improve, but it does provide some security that the search engines are paying attention to your website and they have you indexed.
BTW: To submit more than 400 sitemaps sounds like a really tough job - great job, Don!