Monday, April 15, 2013

Blogger Sitemaps and Google Index

Ever wondered why your blogspot site not coming into Google search results as you might like it to? There may be numerous reasons behind it. But one of the most common reason would be the lack of sitemap file in any blogspot site which can be accessed directly or, no sitemap file at all(which is a bug of blogger platform).

It is a fact that blogger fails to provide a sitemap file when the user uses a domain name for the blog. There is a default sitemap file in cases of blogs with default subdomains though. They are always at "/sitemap.xml" location of the blog. Well don't think that not using a custom domain will do any good to the user/s though! The default sitemap only provides link to the latest "26" content from the blog and even if the blog has numerous contents it won't buzz! Till date there is no way to edit or customize it. It is a serious loss of SEO allover if it is not bypassed or fixed.

Solution:

Use custom sitemap and let Google search it. Users can add it to their webmaster tools section too. As one can easily guess my site here had faced the same problem after a while since it started and I felt that Google search results are not doing justice. Here is how I fixed the issue in 2 steps.

1. Custom sitemap and custom robots.txt ->

Open your blogger dashboard. Go to settings and click open "Search Preferences". Enable "Custom robots.txt content" and put the following inside.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /search
Allow: /
Sitemap: http://YOUR DOMAIN/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
(replace YOUR DOMAIN with your domain name in use)

If you think you have more than 500 contents to list in sitemap, then use it like following.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /search
Allow: /
Sitemap: http://YOUR DOMAIN/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
Sitemap: http://YOUR DOMAIN/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=500
Sitemap: http://YOUR DOMAIN/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1001&max-results=500
Sitemap: http://YOUR DOMAIN/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1501&max-results=500
(replace YOUR DOMAIN with your domain name in use)

Increase the number in "index=X" by adding 500 for each line. If you are unsure about how to do it for bigger blogs, you might wanna check the output sitemap from - http://ctrlq.org/blogger/

After putting the text, just save the settings to have a better indexing experience. The 2nd step will be with Webmaster Tools from Google to facilitate the process a bit more.

2. Configure sitemap inside Google Webmaster Tools ->

As we have done this far why don't we add the sitemap to our webmaster tools too and make it easier to index our pages in Google search results. Open your Google Webmasters Account dashboard (Link: http://www.google.com/webmasters/). As it is a blogspot blog we are talking about it must have been listed there already. You may need to verify it before doing anything. If not too old a blog there will be no need to verification though and it will be automatically verified.

After verification confirmed, click on the domain name of the blog. Open sitemaps from left hand menu and add the following as sitemap -

atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1001&max-results=500

Yet again, if you have bigger blog you might wanna add the following -

atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1001&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1001&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1501&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=2001&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=2501&max-results=500
atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=3001&max-results=500

Just test your sitemaps inside Webmaster Tools and you are done.

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