This is the second in a series of posts detailing my work on Photography-Courses.com.au. If you've not done so already, please read part 1 of the series here, in which we added a canonical URL and redirected all traffic to the www sub-domain.

Helping The Search Engines

There are two files that should appear on every website that help the search engines: a sitemap (typically sitemap.xml) and robots.txt.

Sitemap.xml

There is a sitemap on Photography-Courses.com.au, and this appears to be working correctly. However, the sitemap is not referenced in the robots.txt file.

It has been added to Google Webmaster Tools, but other search engines might not know where to find it.

The photography courses on the site are listed under the /courses path. This page includes a search input, which allows the user to search based on title, subject or audience (beginner, etc.).

The navigation on the site includes links to pre-filtered course pages. For example, /courses?q=sydney is used with the Sydney link text to provide a pre-filtered list of courses based in Sydney.

Normally, you probably wouldn't include links to search terms in the sitemap - there would be too many and they're filtering content and links that are available via other paths. But, because these links are permanent fixtures in the site navigation, and because they're unlikely to change, I'm going to add them.

Robots.txt

An empty robots.txt file is present, meaning there are no instructions for the search engines. That's fine, but I'm going to add a Sitemap reference:

Sitemap: https://www.photography-courses.com.au/sitemap.xml

This will help bots other than GoogleBot find the sitemap.

Google has been told about the sitemap via Google Webmaster Tools, or what's now called Google Search Console.


Actions for today:

  • Add permanent navigation URLs to XML sitemap
  • Add Sitemap link to robots.txt

NOTE: These details have been reproduced with the express consent of the site owner for the purposes of education. We don't normally share our clients' details in this way.