Forget those “search engine submission” services (what do they do anyway?) Here’s how to notify Yahoo and Google about your site and, even better, give them a roadmap to all your pages. I recently had to do this for three websites, so I captured the process of submitting a sitemap for both Google using Google Webmasters Tools and Yahoo using Site Explorer.
I’m assuming you have already built a XML sitemap of your site. If you haven’t and you have a wordpress site, see my 4 essential plugins post, if you have some other type of site, check into gsitecrawler..
Before you can submit your sitemap to Yahoo and Google, you have to “verify” that you own the site. You’ll need an account (ie. a gmail account for Google Webmaster Tools) and a way to modify / create files on your site. Note that there is multiple ways to verify your site (4 for google / 2 for yahoo), so I am just going to cover the uploading HTML file for verification method.
Step 1: Add Your Site Create an Account or Login into each with your Google/Yahoo accounts:
- Google WebMasters Tools On the Dashboard click on “Add Site”
- Yahoo SiteExplorer Click on “My Sites” to add your site’s URL
For both the first part of adding a site is straightforward and intuitive. For Yahoo it is under “My Sites”.
Step 2: Download / Upload the verification file
Step 2 is more complex. When you add your site you will be prompted to go through a validation process. There will be several steps to this:
Just follow the steps as outlined:
- First download the file – it will be a long filename that starts with “google”
- Then upload to your web server’s root directory using a FTP program. Note that you will need to know your hosting account details (which is likely not the same as your wordpress login details)
- Check that the file is there by clicking on the link, you should see something like “google verification” in your browser
- Now click on the verify button
For Yahoo the process is very similar:
- Confirm link in browser
- Click Authenticate
Note that with yahoo the filename starts with “y_key”. With yahoo I had failures with the authenticate step. It might have been because my blog has a redirect in .htaccess to redirect traffic to my blog directory (although I added the files to both the root and the /blog directory) . It might have been because I first added the site as webenso.com rather than www.webenso.com. In any case, persistence was the key, I deleted the site, readded the site as www.webenso.com and tried the authentication twice, the second time it seemed to go through. Note that with yahoo, it sometimes just sends you back to the initial rendering of the authentication page, without telling what happened.
Step 4: Add your sitemap
To add your sitemap you will need to know it’s filename. Google XML Sitemaps plugin usually defaults to calling your sitemap: sitemap.xml.
In Webmaster tools, the sitemap options are on the lower right hand side for your site. SiteExplorer calls sitemaps “feeds”.
A note about Bing:
Even though Bing and Yahoo are merging due to the Microsoft / Yahoo search engine deal, it might not be a bad idea to submit your sitemap to Bing, fortunately it’s easy:
Substitute your Sitemap URL into the string below (eg. https://webenso.com/sitemap.xml) and run it in your browser URL box.
http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=put URL of your sitemap here
You’ll get a “Thanks for submitting your sitemap.” message in your browser window.