Sandvox Screencast: Using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Sitemap

Our next screencast installment is also about integrating Sandvox Pro with Google. In this, we walk you through verifying  your website with Google, and generating a Google Sitemap.

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Hello and welcome to this screencast for Sandvox.

With Sandvox Pro, you can register your website with Google in order to give you better control over how Google lists your website.  

First, I will show you how to perform site verification for Google Webmaster Tools and discuss its importance.

Second, I will create a Google sitemap and discuss the differences between the “Site Map” page and the Google sitemap.

First, to perform site verification with the Google Webmaster tools, open up the inspector by clicking the "I" icon in the toolbar . . . then choose the Site segment . . . then the Google tab. 

Click the “Google Webmaster tools” link to go to the site.  “Sign in” to Google Webmaster tools with your Google Account email address and password. 

When you “Sign in”, you are directed to the Google Webmaster tools Dashboard.  Add your site by inputting the url . . . and click “Add Site”.

Google Webmaster tools gives you access to the Overview page.  Click the “Verify your site” link.  

Choose the “Add a meta tag” verification method from the dropdown menu.  

Notice the code they provide.  Select it here . . . then “Copy”.

I’ll go back to my site in Sandvox.

In the site inspector, in the “Google” tab, paste the code into the “Site Verification” text box.

Click the “Publish” icon in the toolbar to send the changes up to the site.  

Go back to the Google website and click the “Verify” button.  

Uploading the verification meta tag into the site’s root verifies to Google that you are the authorized site owner.  By being verified as the site owner, you are able to examine any errors that Google may have with your website, choose how Google visits your site, and so on.  You will be able to see information about your site verification almost immediately.

In the second task, I will create a sitemap for Google.

But first, it is important to define the differences between the “Site Map” page on your website and the Google sitemap.  A Google Sitemap is not a page on your website, it is a special file that Sandvox can generate to communicate with Google about your website.

In Sandvox, you are able to make a “Site Map” page to help visitors get an overview of a complicated website.  In my website, Antique Cellphones, I have a Products page, a Contact Us form, a Blog page, a Terms of Service page, and a Site Map page.  This “Site Map” page is to help human visitors find the pages they need on the website.

I’ll show you how you can exclude a page from the human-readable “Site Map” page on your website and the Google sitemap.

All the pages, in my site are listed here in the “Site Outline”.  I’ll “select” the Terms of Service page.  In the Page segment of the inspector, by “checking” or “unchecking" here, I can choose whether I want it included in the “Site Map” page on my website and the Google sitemap.  

Click on the Site segment in the inspector . . . and then the Google tab.  

Check “Generate Google Sitemap”.  

“Copy” the url Sandvox provides in the textbox.  If I had not set up my website for publication, I would have to do that first, since I need to get the actual url of the published sitemap page for this process.  

Go back to the Google website.

Choose “Sitemaps” in the Dashboard.  

“Paste” the sitemap url into the “My Sitemaps” textbox . . . then click “Submit Sitemap”.

That’s it!

Google may also choose to make use of the sitemap page you provide as a hint for which pages are worthy of showing in Sitelinks.  Sitelinks are a mini menu that Google sometimes shows for popular websites.  We don’t have a Sitelink for our sample website here, but some examples of Sitelinks are in this listing for Karelia software . . . or this listing for Apple iPhone.  It’s up to Google as to whether they will show Sitelinks on your website, but providing the sitemap is a good way to help Google do this.

A website is dynamic, that is, constantly changing.  So, when I make changes to my website, by providing a sitemap to Google, in Sandvox, I can give a hint to Google as to which pages are the most important.

Sandvox automatically marks the Home page and all the pages listed in the “Site Menu” as the main pages for the site.

Google integration with Site Verification and Google Sitemap Activation is complete.  Every time I publish my site from now on, the sitemap page will be updated to reflect those changes.  And Sandvox will automatically notify Google that the sitemap has changed. 

Thanks for watching!

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