An XML sitemap is a roadmap for search engines. The important contents of your website are listed in XML format so that search engines can easily find and index your content. Eventually, the SEO XML sitemap will display the results in search engines. An XML sitemap that is submitted to the search engines ensures that they can find any pages, you want to be included in SERPs. Once you have an idea of how to make an XML sitemap it provides additional information to the search engines.
The reasons why you require an XML sitemap
The search engine discovers content on a website by crawling from one page to another using bots referred to as spiders. When the spiders discover a new SEO XML sitemap via an internal or an external link, they add the page to the index. Though the issue is with crawling as search engines are not able to find all of the content on the web in that manner.
If you do not link the web page via another known page, a search engine is not able to find it. At this juncture how to make an XML sitemap assumes considerable importance. XML sitemaps act as insurance by communicating to the search engines where to locate the most important pages on your website. It aids in the process of content creation and indexation. This turns out to be crucial since without indexing, search engines cannot rank your content.
Which are the websites that require an XML sitemap?
Pay attention to the advice of Google, SEO XML sitemap are best suited for
- Large websites with thousands of pages
- Websites with a lot of media-rich content
- Websites that have extensive archives
- Websites with no or very few backlinks
But the catch is all websites derive benefits from understanding what is XML sitemap in SEO. Search engine bots can better grasp your site’s structure when an XML sitemap is included. discover the content and when was the last time it was updated. Even if you have a single-page website how to make an XML sitemap may turn out to be beneficial.
The pages that need to be included in the XML sitemap
A simple answer is to include any number of pages that you want to display in search results of the SEO XML sitemap and leave others out. The sitemap should include pages that have a utility like
- About Us page
- Product page
- Contact page
- Service page
- Blog posts
In short, you should include such pages like
- Thank You pages
- Private media files
- Tag pages
These are examples of URLs that you do not want to show up in the search results. But be aware that just because you omit a page from the SEO XML sitemap does not mean it will not be indexed. If the page has links pointing to it there is a chance that Google along with other search engines will crawl, index and display that image in the search engine results. To ensure that the page is removed from the search results, after understanding how to make an XML sitemap ensure that it is omitted. Then you may incorporate a no-index tag to it.
The process of submitting the sitemap to Google
After having an idea of what is XML sitemap in SEO the final step is to submit it to Google. But before you do that you need to be aware of where the sitemap is located. Once you are aware of how to make an XML sitemap and where it is located and move over to the Google search console., Under the index map, you will find sitemaps. Then you need to paste the site URL into the sitemap field and press submit. The sitemap has to be submitted successfully and with that, you are done.
XML essential best practices
Let us take one step ahead when it comes on how to make an XML sitemap. You need to ensure that the techniques used is optimized for effective crawling and indexing
Using a dynamic sitemap and not a static sitemap
Just imagine where you have to manually update the XML sitemap when changes are made to the website. This is exactly what you need to do with a site map. Most contemporary CMS have active XML sitemap functionality in built that is available via a plug in. The sitemap will update, delete or remove the existing pages. A dynamic sitemap is necessary for large websites where priority pages are frequently added, and no manual intervention is necessary.
The XML sitemap needs to be kept below 50 MB
In an SEO XML sitemap, Google has outlined that the sitemap should not exceed 50 MB. The moment you exceed this limit, it is better to divide the single XML sitemap into multiple XML sitemap files. Going above the limits may lead to Google ceasing their crawl operations. An example is that you can split the sitemap into posts and pages. Then you can group them in a sitemap index files.
Priority and change frequency attributes
Many SEO experts have experimented the importance of attributes ‘priority’ and ‘change frequency’ and have observed that Google often ignore both these tags. This means that both of them add unnecessary weight to your sitemap. This can lead to crawling and indexing issues.
For XML sitemap errors monitor the Google Search console
Google will notify you via a search panel if it cannot crawl your XML sitemap. Some of the frequent issues that emerge are
- Submitted URL not found( 404) – This indicates that the URL you listed in the XML sitemap is invalid. Don’t forget to remove a page from your sitemap if you remove it from the website.
- Submitted URL marked “non-index” – this occurs when a page in your XML sitemap has a “nonindex” meta tag.
- The submitted URL is blocked by robots. Txt – this transpires when a page contained in the XML sitemap is blocked by robots.txt.
To conclude the question emerges after understanding what is XML sitemap in SEO which technique you are going to use. What are the changes that you are planning to the XML sitemap perhaps you may contemplate a switch from a manual to an automated XML sitemap?
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