There are many SMF forum owners who have found it difficult to add a sitemap to their forums. However, i would like to assure you that you can easily add a sitemap to any SMF version you might be having.
There are so many good reasons why you should add a sitemap to your forum. First of, Google recommended sitemaps. I am very sure no one does not want to be a friend of Google as long as you have a site. Google states it clear that if you want them to crawl your site well, you will need to add a sitemap. The more indexed pages you have, probably the more traffic.
Secondly, forums normally have to many buried posts, this is because, so many people post at the same time which make many of the posts go unnoticed. You will therefore need a sitemap to make Google aware of all the posts on your forum.
In this simple article, i am going to teach you how to add a sitemap to Simple Machines Forum and how to submit it to Google.
What scares many people is the fact that many of the SMF sitemap mods seem to be outdated, and when they try to install, they get a simple message
“The package you are trying to download or install is either corrupt or not compatible with this version of SMF”
This is manly because the sitemap for smf was designed for versions 1.1.12 and 2.0 RC4. But, in this article, i am going to teach you how to successfully create a sitemap for your forum and submit it to Google using that very same mod.
Download the SMF Sitemap Mod here
Do not mind about its version requirements, we are going to easily work around.
Login to your SMF admin to install the sitemap mod, then click on Package Manager. Now, you have to realize the the SMF sitemap mod was created for earlier versions, therefore, trying to install it will give you an error of “package not compatible” mentioned above
In order to install the Sitemap mod without the error, you will have to use the simple “emulate” trick
You will need to use the “emulate version” trick to make it work. Go under the browse package area (also under the package manager), just below the packages you have installed, you will see the word “Advanced” and click on it
Enter “2.0 RC4″ (minus the quotes) in the “Emulate Version” box and click “Apply”
That will make it able for you to install the SMF sitemap as usual
Once the mod is installed, go back to the package manager screen, click “Advanced” then click “Revert” under “Emulate Version” and click “Apply” to set things back to normal.
The idea behind the emulate trick is that many mods which where created for the earlier versions can still work for the current smf version. But the current versions will not recognise them until you emulate.
After emulating, just go ahead and install the SMF sitemap mod, you might still see some errors but most of them cant stop you from installing and they will have no much effect on your SMF forum unless you made un compatible changes.
After installing the SMF sitemap for your forum, you will notice that a link will have been created in your forum footer, you can then click on it to get the SMF forum sitemap url which you are supposed to submit to Google
The SMF sitemap url will look like http://example.com/index.php?action=sitemap
You can check for a working example here
In case you do not see the sitemap link at the bottom of your forum, you will have to add a simple code to your template . Look for the code below in your form template
<li>', theme_copyright(), '</li>
Immediately after it, add the following code
<li><a href="', $scripturl, '?action=sitemap"><span>', $txt['sitemap'] ,'</span></a></li>
You will now be able to see the Sitemap link at the footer of your forum
Submitting SMF sitemap to Google
Submitting your SMF sitemap to Google is very simple, Just go to your Google webmaster tools account.
If you are just doing it for the first time, you will have to verify your site to make Google understand that you are owner of the forum. There are many people who ask how to verify SMF forum in Google webmaster tools.
Well, there are many methods you can use which include adding a meta tag, uploading a file to your root folder or making changes to your DNS.
If you are not so good at coding with your SMF template and you have fears that you might break your forum, you opt to add file to your root folder or changes to your DNS.
If your site is already verified, just go to Site Configuration under your website dashboard in Google Webmasters Tools, Then click on Sitemaps to ass your SMF sitemap to Google.
Then add the URL of your SMF sitemap which looks like the example i gave above
Please note that you have to back up your forum before making any changes to it. You do not need to regret later