One of the suggestions Google makes to webmasters is to submit a sitemap to Google.
I find, that if someone is going to be rating or grading something you make or do, following their advice is a good idea. In school when the teacher said to capitalize the first letter of every sentence, you quickly learn you should capitalize the first letter of every sentence. If Google suggests submitting a sitemap, I am going to submit a sitemap (I have not figured out how to do it for a WordPress blog but when I do I’ll do it for digitalkeyto.info also).
Before I go further, there are two types of sitemaps.
One is the text link type. This is to help a visitor to a Website find a particular page on the site. The other type of sitemap is the kind Google is suggesting you submit to them. This is an XML file placed in the root of your site directory. Google also suggests that you have the text link type in your website for visitors.
To get an XML sitemap you will need to use an XML sitemap generator that will create a sitemap that meets Google’s guidlines.
Google lists several programs on the Google Sitemap Beta page. They also list several online generators that will create a sitemap for you online. I used the sitemap generator at www.xml-sitemaps.com.
Now for my problems
One step at the Google Sitemaps Beta page is verifying that you are indeed the owner of the Website in question. When I first tried to do this a few weeks ago, Google had a file for you to place in the root of your Website with a code. Since only the owner of the site should be able to place the file there it would prove ownership. My problem was that Google could not see the file. www.photographybyjet.com is a second domain on my account. I tried several variations of URL’s and nothing would seem to work. After a couple days of trying, I gave up.
A bit more recently, Google announced a second way to verify the site.
Now you can place a Meta tag in the header of the index file. This worked. Google seems to have no problem reading the index file. Now all I had to do was point Google to the sitemap.
Unfortunately, this seemed to have the same problem as the verification file.
Google would claim that it could not find the sitemap and kept telling me to check the URL. Since the second domain on my host is very much like a sub domain it tried as many different versions of the URL as I could think of. None seemed to work.
I started a support ticket with my Web host.
They suggested another form of the URL. I did not remember trying that particular one so I tried to submit the sitemap with the recommended one. It worked. At least, I thought it did at first. What it really did was list another sub domain with Google, instead of the actual domain I wanted to submit. Not only that, this one was not verified.
I decided to give the original URL another try.
This time for some reason it worked. I have no idea why. I had only tried it maybe 15 minutes earlier and it failed. I guess maybe this is why it is still listed as a Beta program with Google.
The good news is now www.photographybyjet.com has a sitemap with Google.
While I write this, it still has not been indexed by Google. It will be interesting to see if I have a problem resubmitting the sitemap when I add more content to the site (hopefully soon).
If anyone had any idea why Google would not be able to see the sitemap file or the verification file in the first place I would really like figure this out so I can avoid problems in the future.
It may also help others. I found mention of several others that had a similar problem with the sitemap submission. I did not see any solution for the problem anywhere.