XML sitemaps inform search engines about the pages available to crawl on your website. Search engines find new pages by navigating links on websites. Sitemaps enhance search engine crawling by providing explicit information about the specific urls on your website. Sitemaps don’t ensure that your webpages will be indexed, but they typically increase both the chance and speed of indexing.
If you have fresh content on your blog or website, it is prudent to make sure the search engines know about this to get the content indexed as soon as possible. One way this is done is by pinging your xml sitemap. Although there are many search engines and services you can ping your sitemap to, make sure you concentrate on the big 3: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
So, how do you automatically ping your updated sitemap each time your website updates?
If you’ve got an XML sitemap for your website, you can alert the search engines to updates by typing a specially formatted URL into your browser.
Bing is Microsoft’s newly branded and revamped search engine that is gaining popularity and market share every day since its recent launch. It’s well known that Bing takes a long time to initially index a website, so ping their service when you launch a website and every time you update content.
Their ping service is http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=[your sitemap web address].
You can manually ping Bing by entering the above url in a web browser and pressing enter. I prefer to automate this process, by entering the url into a ping list in WordPress. WordPress will then automatically ping Bing each time I update or submit a new post.
Google is the dominant search engine, and you will want to inform when something new or changes appears on your site.
The ping url is http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ping?sitemap=http://www.example.com/sitemap-file.xml
Again, you can manually visit this url to ping Google, or add the url to an automated pinging service if this is supported by your website development platform.
Yahoo’s ping service lets you notify them anytime your site changes so their index can be updated quicker. Their ping url is http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/updateNotification?appid=YahooDemo&url=http://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml
You can automatically submit your updated site map using a pinging service or manually entering the above url.
If you don’t have an xml sitemap yet, you can use a free xml sitemap generator to get you started.