Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Bing Sitemap Plugin For Webmasters And SEOs

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No SEO campaign is complete without XML sitemaps. Sitemaps are the easiest way for webmasters to inform search engines about the URLs of their sites that are available for crawling. A Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

The SEO procedure comprises of ensuring that:

1) The site is crawled by the search engines regularly and accurately
2) It is getting indexed correctly
3) It is getting increasing search presence over a period of time and,
4) Last but not the least the regular monitoring to keep a check that all these activities are being executed smoothly and there is no unforeseen hurdle to it.

To ensure that the site is crawled, XML sitemaps have to be generated for which there are many plug-ins and softwares available. XML sitemaps are widely adopted and supported by Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.

As XML Sitemaps are so important, Bing has made it very easy for webmasters to generate them and publish them for the use of all search engines by offering a beta program for the Bing Sitemap Plugin, an open source server-side technology that takes care of generating XML Sitemaps compliant with sitemaps.org for websites running on IIS as well as Apache.

The Bing Sitemap Plugin generates two types of Sitemaps:

1. A comprehensive Sitemap of all URLs seen in server traffic
2. A Sitemap dedicated to store URLs that have changed recently

You can download the plugin and find more information about the Bing Sitemap Plugin on Bing Webmaster help center.

The XML Sitemaps generated by the Bing Sitemap Plugin (Beta) adhere to the XML Sitemap protocol and can be used by all search engines that support the protocol, not just Bing.

The Bing Sitemap Plugin can be configured to operate in the following site and server scenarios:

1.    Single site, single server
2.    Single site, multiple servers
3.    Multiple sites on a single server
4.    Multiple sites on multiple servers

When operating across multiple servers, the Bing Sitemap Plugin has a merge process to generate a unified Sitemap, which in turn can be distributed across all servers.

Bing seems to be very serious about search. Last year Bing upgraded their Webmaster Tools and now by offering this Plug-in for XML sitemaps it surely is at least ensuring that the SEO industry will start focusing on Bing Webmaster Tools too, along with Google Webmaster Tools.

Article By: Bharati Ahuja

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