Blogs by author "Chris Everett"
As a follow up to Part III of my advanced SEO tips for Exponent CMS webmasters that discussed installing webmaster tools, I'll now discuss the importance of XML Sitemaps and how to create and configure one for your Exponent site.
What are XML Sitemaps?
XML Sitemaps for your website that notifies the search engines about each web pages on your site, how important each page is, as well as how often the site is updated.
Creating a XML Sitemap also provides a way for the search engines to discover pages on your website that they might not have found through the normal site crawling process.
A complement to the Robots.txt file, after they are generated, XML Sitemaps are uploaded to Google and Bing Webmaster tools to help you manage the indexation of your web pages.
Creating & Uploading a XML Sitemap
Generating an XML sitemap is very easy by going to www.xml-sitemaps.com.
This website gives step by step instructions on how to create your XML Sitemap. You'll first need to enter your website URL and then select the frequency that your site is changed.
Next you can tell the search engines precisely when the last time your site was updated:
The Priority tag for your XML sitemap assigns a value to your URLs between 0.0 and 1.0, where 0.0 identifies the lowest priority URLs on your site and 1.0 identifies the highest priority URLs. The default priority of a page is 0.5.
Once you've filled out the necessary data, you can then run your XML Sitemap by clicking the “Start” Button.
As you can see in the image above, you can run a XML Sitemap for a website up to 500 pages for free. If your website has more than 500 pages that need to be indexed, you'll have to find an alternative sitemap generator, or pay for the advanced version.
Once you click “Start” the Sitemap crawler will start to build your XML Sitemap:
Once the Sitemap generator is finished running, you can download it and push it up to the public_html directory of your Exponent CMS website via FTP or cPanel/WHM.
You can verify that you've properly uploaded your XML sitemap by going to www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml It should look something like this:
Configuring Your XML Sitemap in Webmaster Tools
So now that you've created and uploaded your new XML Sitemap to your web server, you now must go to Webmaster tools for both Google and Bing and submit your XML Sitemap URL.
Google Webmaster Tools
In the Google Webmaster Tools, you can access the Sitemap configuration page from the dashboard, or on the left hand menu under Optimization by clicking the “Sitemaps” link.
Once you've landed on the Sitemaps configuration page, you can submit a new sitemap by clicking the red “Add/Test Sitemap” button on the right hand side.
There, you'll simply enter “sitemap.xml” in the rest of the URL field and click “Submit Sitemap”
You'll receive a “Sitemap Submitted” message to let you know that you've successfully completed the process:
Bing Webmaster Tools
Similarly to the Google Webmaster Tools, you can submit a XML Sitemap on the Bing Webmaster Tools dashboard under the “Sitemaps” section:
To submit the sitemap, simply click “Submit a Sitemap” and fill out your XML Sitemap URL:
Once you've filled out your URL, click submit and you're done.
You now have successfully notified the search engines about each page on your website. While it does not guarantee every page will be indexed, it does help eliminate URLs not getting picked up through normal crawling.
In Part V of this Advanced SEO Tips series, I'll discuss how to configure and install Google Analytics on your Exponent CMS website.
About the Author
Chris Everett is an organic SEO expert and is the founder of the Captivate Search Marketing search engine marketing firm in Atlanta, GA.
In this, Part V of my advanced SEO tips for Exponent CMS websites, I'll discuss a critical component for search engine marketing: Analytics.
A gigantic aspect of search marketing is measuring, analyzing, and modifying your SEO and PPC campaigns to ensure they're always performing at their best. The best way to gather this data is by integrating a comprehensive traffic analytics program into your Exponent CMS website.
One of the most popular Analytics programs available – and is 100 percent free – is Google Analytics. Google Analytics gathers detailed statistics about web traffic and its sources and measures conversions and sales. All of this data is essential for running a well optimized SEO campaign.
So how do you get Google Analytics to work on your Exponent CMS website? If you're the webmaster of an Exponent site, the process takes a few steps but it's really quite simple.
Setting Up Your Google Analytics Account
If you or your client don't already have a Google Analytics account set up, it's very easy to get a new account. Simply go to Google.com/Analytics and sign in with your Google Account. From there, you'll need to go to Accounts list and click to add a “New Account.”
Next, fill out the pertinent information about your Exponent CMS website, giving it an account name and providing your website's URL. Whether or not you choose to allow Google to view your account data is up to you.
When you're done, simply click “Get Tracking ID” and accept the Google Terms & Conditions to get the code snippet you'll need to integrate into your Exponent CMS theme files.
Installing Your Google Analytics Code
As you can see in the image above, you'll need to simply copy the code snippet tracking code found in the box that is specific to your account and paste it into each page of your site.
If you were working with a straight HTML site, this could get a little cumbersome, however because we're working with a dynamic CMS that uses themes/subthemes, you'll only need to paste it into each of your theme files.
You can access these theme files within cPanel or by pulling them down via FTP.
Within your public_html directory, you'll need to navigate into your Exponent theme folder and into the directory of the theme you're using for your website.
Within your theme directory you'll first want to edit your index.php file, inserting your code snippet just before the closing body tag of the file:
Once you've pasted in your snippet, save the file or push it back up via FTP. Go back into your theme folder and into “subthemes” and repeat this paste/save step for each of your website's subtheme files.
Once you've saved the snippet, you can verify its tracking status by going back to your Google Analytics account and into Tracking Info where you copied your code snippet. There you'll see the tracking status for your Analytics account:
Now that you've successfully setup and installed Google Analytics into your Exponent CMS website, you can now set goals, track traffic sources and gather other pertinent website data that will help you continually measure and analyze the performance of your SEO marketing strategy.
About the Author
This SEO tutorial article was written by Chris Everett, a search engine marketing consultant at Captivate Search Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Chris has worked with Exponent CMS websites since 2007 and continues to help improve the system's SEO friendliness.
Connect with Chris on Google+ to learn more.