So I’ve been trying to setup my site with Google Sitemaps and I’ve constantly been getting an error: Paths don’t match. I’ve read a few posts and forum notes saying that this is due to the site being setup in Google Sitemaps as http://sitename.com and the URLs in the sitemap being submitted as http://www.sitename.com/ (or vice versa). Some of the suggestions that I’ve read stated that you should try removing the site from Google Sitemaps, then re-adding it with (or without) the www. prefix on the site name. The problem I am having is this, I have www. in all of my sitemap links and in my site in Google Sitemaps. I’ve even tried deleting the site and resubmitting it. What gives? See the screenshot below for more details… any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Has anyone else had this problem? What did you do to get around it?
Google Sitemap Error Update
After battling with the problem for a bit, I think I may have found a solution. Even though the input page already has a prefix such as http://www.sitename.com/BLANK – re-enter http://www.sitename.com/sitemap.xml in the BLANK field. I don’t know why Google would make it so unclear, but this seems to fix it. See image below:
Google Sitemap Error Update 2
The above “Update” solution didn’t work. Don’t try it.
Google Sitemap Error Update 3
I found a couple solutions where people mentioned going from a TXT DNS record to a META tag or uploading an HTML file. I just added a META tag to my site… stay tuned to hear if it worked or not. Thanks for the comment RickFu!
Now that Google Analytics as a new reporting interface (see my article on Google Analytics New Reporting Interface), I’ll be slightly changing the format of my web traffic reports to use the new graphs and information. And thanks to the new Analytics interface, I’ll be able to get direct comparisons of this month to last with the built in comparison tool.
Looking at the graph of visits comparing May and April, it appears that my web traffic remained roughly the same (with the exception of a couple days which I’ll talk about more later). The number of pageviews and the number of visitors was roughly the same throughout the month as you can see in the two images below. The only exception was the small range of May 14th through May 16th that was caused by the upcoming release of the Halo 3 Beta – see Blog Traffic Spike – Halo 3 Beta Pitched My Tent
And, as always, a majority of my blog traffic came from search engines, while once again, less than 10% of my blog traffic… actually, less than 7% of my blog traffic came from direct visits (me) and referrals from other websites.
Now on to the actual numbers!
In my last post March Web Traffic and Revenue Report I said that I’d be following up with a post on how to retain visitors longer and how to get more page views per visitor, so here it is. Through the short lifespan of this website, I have been able to consistently increase the number of visitors, pageviews and pages per visit.
It hasn’t just happened for me, I’ve been making minor tweaks and changes during the first quarter of 2007 and so far, the results have been good. To recap, my February goal was to increase my pageviews per visitor from about 1.25 up to 2.0+. In March, I hit 1.71 pageviews per visitor which took me a lot closer to my goal, but I’ve still got a little work to do to get there. So what’s the big secret? I used two methods to get more pageviews out of my visitors:
- Cross-Linking within my site
I try to throw in relevant links in all of my articles to other articles that I’ve created on my site. This way, if I’ve already written an article that can give some background information on the current topic, I give the reader the opportunity to click on a link to view the past article or post. I’ve also implemented the Related Posts plugin for WordPress – see my post on 11 Must Have WordPress Plugins
- Separating articles into multiple pages
Now, if I have an article that has a lot of text, I try to break it up into multiple pages. I think this procedure has pros and cons, so here’s a brief list of both. Pros: More pageviews, more ad impressions, posts broken up into sections. Cons: User could overlook the paging feature, user could expect all content to be on a single page. I think the pros outweigh the cons in this circumstance, so for now, I’m going to continue to split large articles into multiple pages. I’d love to hear feedback on this if anyone has other suggestions.
So those are my 2 big secrets. Pretty obvious when you see them in front of you, but they really do seem to work. In the case of my site, the results haven’t been dramatic, but they have been noticeable. Try it on your site, let me know if it works out for you!
There are many factors that go into creating and optimizing your site for success with search engines. This article will briefly overview some of the major flaws that you want to avoid when designing a site. When designing a new site, keep in mind that some of the most artistically creative, and some of the best looking websites are terrible when it comes to search engines and page rank. Why is that? Primarily because they use any and/or all of the elements below – sometimes exessively.
The following is a list of common mistakes and items that you should avoid when creating a new site along with a brief description of the problems that come with.
The problem with flash-based sites is never the design (most flash sites have a great design and user interface). The problem with flash sites is the flash sites are compiled, so no content is ever actually loaded onto the page – the browser just loads a plugin that enables it to display a flash movie file, so search engines can never really crawl, access and archive the content of a flash file – whether it is full of images or full of text, flash files are largely inaccessible to search engines and indexing. This is not to say that your site will not get indexed if it is a flash-based site, it will however (in most cases) just be a single page that gets indexed.
This is because flash only needs a single HTML file to be loaded, once that file is loaded, the HTML page never needs to change; all of the navigation is done within the flash file. If you insist on having a flash website, my best recommendation to you is to also created a clone HTML site, that way when a search engine visits your site, it will find some content to crawl and index rather than a single page of with just a title and flash movie.
Can websites use flash and still be successfully crawled and indexed? Sure they can, I’ve developed many sites that use a balance of traditional HTML and flash elements. I don’t know if there is a specific name for them, but I typically call them “hybrid sites”. I use HTML for all images, text content and navigation, and try to limit flash to minimal usage in animations, backgrounds and occasionally in secondary navigation areas.
As of right now, the official release date of the iPhone stands at June 15, 2007, though it could easily get pushed back much like the release of AppleTV. There are many factors that need to be in place for the iPhone launch to be successful, and Apple does not seem like a company who will release a product until it is absolutely, positively ready. This date (June 15) seems to be speculation from a document that Apple sent to the FCC:
A letter to the FCC from Apple dated October 12 requested the FFC to keep quiet on various diagrams, photos and user manual documents until June 15, 2007. This date fits exactly with the last day of the WWDC and could be the iPhone release date as well.
Letter to FCC from Apple regarding
If you haven’t read my first article, check out Google Sitemaps – Get Crawled, Indexed and Searched Once your site is submitted to Google Sitemaps, they provide you with a wealth of information that can help you to improve your site. Once Google has downloaded your sitemap, it will continue to do so moving forward, constantly giving you feedback on your site and all of its pages.
For instance, I just logged into my Google Sitemaps account and found out that the sitemap for i.nconspicuo.us was download 27 minutes ago with a total of 74 URLs submitted. So let’s get started interpreting the data. When you initially login to your Google Sitemaps account, you’ll be presented with a listing of all the sites for which you have submitted a sitemap, click on the site you want to view data for – I’ll be using this site for the example, so I’ll provide screenshots and information accordingly.
After selecting the site, you’ll be presented with a Google Sitemaps Summary Page (fig 1) This page will give you last crawl, index status (whether your site has been indexed or not – Google can crawl a site, but it can sometimes take up to a month before it is indexed) and web crawl errors. From the summary page, you can:
- See Google’s review of your robots.txt file (if you have one)
- Setup your preferred URL – for instance, I have set my preferred URL to be i.nconspicuo.us rather than www.nconspicuo.us or nconpicuo.us – this way, I have a Domain That Says Something
- Check the crawl rate of your site – Google Sitemaps Crawl Rate Page (fig 2)
- Enable/Disable Enhanced Image Search
As with all of their tools and products, Google Sitemaps is always being expanded and enhanced to be a better product that provides the best information. How’s it work? It’s really pretty simple, you upload an XML file that details your site structure to Google and it crawls the listed pages. The more often you upload your site, the more often you should upload a new sitemap. The sitemap that you upload not only contains the pages on your site, but it allows you to give them weights or priority levels from 0 to 1.
For instance, if you have blog that has a constantly changing homepage, you’re going to want to give that page a higher weight than say your contact page that is static and never changes. You are also able to specify how often pages change – Always, Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly or Never. My site gets about 50% of its traffic from Google searches, so I’m a big advocate of using Google Sitemaps. If you’re a WordPress user, I’d recommend this plugin: http://www.arnebrachhold.de/2005/06/05/google-sitemaps-generator-v2-final It makes the job simple, all you’ve got to do is specify a few parameters and it does the rest for you.
Not currently a Google Sitemap user and want to get started? First off, you need to sign into your Google Account, if you don’t have one, go get one – http://www.google.com/accounts/ Once you’ve got your Google Account setup, log into Google Sitemaps – http://www.google.com/sitemaps/ Add your site(s) and get them verified, and start creating XML sitemap files for Google to consume!
Make sure to read my followup article on how to interpret the information the Google Sitemaps provides.
Ever since I launched this site, my traffic has been increasing. One key change that WordPress users can make to help their search engine traffic and ranking increase is to replace the dynamically created URL’s with Friendly URL’s. For instance, by default, WordPress displays URL’s as http://i.nconspicuo.us/?p=22 But by changing a couple options in the WordPress admin section, you can change the dynamic URL into a URL with some meaning like this: http://i.nconspicuo.us/2006/11/21/my-top-10-ways-to-get-google-to-crawl-and-index-your-site/
From a SEO standpoint, this is pure gold. Now, I not only have the title of my post in the <title> tag of my site, but I have it on the page in the <h1> tag, and I also have all of the same, relevant keywords in my URL string. Believe it or not, Google (and other search engines) do care what is in the URL. Why? I think Google’s ranking algorithm tries to get as close as possible to thinking like a human. Google will crawl and index your site either way, but using a friendly URL instead of a dynamically generated URL will give your post more relevance and consequently a better page rank. http://i.nconspicuo.us/?p=22 is basically meaningless when you want to know what a post is about, however http://i.nconspicuo.us/2006/11/21/my-top-10-ways-to-get-google-to-crawl-and-index-your-site/ gives you all the info you need – site that the post is on, posting date, and the post title. So if I decide to email this link to a friend, they’ll know just by looking at the link whether or not they want to spend the time to click and read it (Side Note: Any and All links that I send to my friends are worth clicking).
What if I don’t use WordPress? Can I still make my site work like this?
So I started this blog in order to try to not only generate some advertising income, but also to find the best way to optimize and maximize that income. In order to start generating that income, the first thing that I wanted to do was to get my site indexed with major search engines – primarily Google.
- Create a site structure – Categories / Subcategories
- Create unique content – Being able to do this will depend on whether or not you’ve created categories that you’re knowledgeable in
- Use descriptive titles
- Good: i.nconspicuo.us – 10 Best Ways to get Google to Crawl and Index Your Site
- Better: 10 Best Ways to get Google to Crawl and Index Your Site – i.nconspicuo.us
- Make sure that the HTML
- Place internal cross-links within your site – It’s always a good idea to have links to other articles within each page.
- Once your site has some content, submit your site to some social networking pages
- Exchange links with other sites
- Submit your URL to Google: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
- Upload your sitemap to Google Sitemaps: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
- Add Google Analytics to your site: http://www.google.com/analytics/
You might wonder why #10 is going to help Google crawl or index your site… it may help, it may not. I just feel that the more Google products that you use on a site, the more likely it is that the site will be crawled.
Update: November 21, 2006
After being live for just over a week, i.nconspicuo.us has had it’s first few pages indexed by Google. Not bad when you consider Google’s disclaimer:
“We add and update new sites to our index each time we crawl the web, and we invite you to submit your URL here. We do not add all submitted URLs to our index, and we cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if they will appear.”
What are you waiting for? Get your site out there… whether you use any of my 10 suggestions or not, search engines are out there and waiting to crawl your site!