WHAT ARE SITEMAPS?
Sitemaps are essentially lists of website URLs, containing every important page’s address, its upload date, the sitemaps allow your website to be seen in search engines. Yes, it is like submitting the names of family members living in one house to the election committee, it allows them to believe that you exist.
HOW DO SITEMAPS WORK?
Sitemaps do the same as it allows search engines to understand that your website and its pages exist with all the information, relevant keywords, etc. In a sitemap generated for your website, you will notice, a date in every row alongside the URL, well, the procedure goes like this. Google and other search engines have millions of websites with information and as soon as a user searches for the information, Google shows relevant websites from its database, submitting sitemaps will boost the website traffic.
So, with sitemaps, we allow Google to go through the information it wants to show to the users and it uses Google bots for it which crawl the websites and then index them.
WHY THEY ARE IMPORTANT?
There are no cons of Sitemaps, creating and submitting them are instead an essential step that one should not avoid. The pros of Google sitemaps, well, it allows Google to see URLs, the date on which each post was last updated and helps with SEO because you want Google to crawl your updated content as soon as possible. When a date changes in the XML sitemap.
As the date changes in the sitemaps, Google knows that there is new content to crawl and index.
Does my website need a Sitemap?
PRO TIPS FOR SITEMAPS
Sitemaps have a limit of 50,000 URLs. So, what can you do if you have a website with more pages? Well, Google recommends breaking up your sitemap into two or more sitemaps.
As mentioned above, the URLs in your sitemap have a “last modified” date associated with them. These dates should be only modified when you make significant changes to your site (or add new content to your site) since updating dates on pages that haven’t changed can be seen as a spammy tactic.
While search engines like Google and Bing both allow sitemaps that are up to 50MB, make sure your sitemap is under 50MB.
Well, Is it compulsory and does my website need an XML sitemap?
According to Google, XML sitemaps are beneficial for
- really large websites
- websites with large archives
- new websites with just a few external links to it
- websites which use rich media content
Even though we agree that these websites will benefit the most from XML sitemaps, they are beneficial for every website. As every single website needs Google to find the most important pages and to know when they’re last updated.
WHICH PAGES SHOULD BE IN YOUR XML SITEMAP?
Out of the thousands of website pages included in your XML sitemap, which URL should be there and which should not be is quite a relevant question. Well, it depends on the relevance of a URL. If you want a visitor to land on a particular URL, be it your blogs, landing pages or any other pages, then they should be included on your sitemap. But those, which you don’t want users to land on shouldn’t be in it.
However, if you don’t want that URL to show up in the search results, you can add a ‘noindex, follow’ tag. What will happen if you will leave it out of your XML sitemap? Well, in that case also Google can index the URL if the search engine can find it by following links, Google can index the URL.
WHERE DO I NEED TO UPLOAD SITEMAPS?
For Google to access your website URLs as soon as possible, you will need to add it to your Google Search Console account. As you sign in, you can see your website in sidebar, click on that to submit your sitemap and also check under ‘Sitemaps’ section in the sidebar to check if your XML sitemap is already added. If not, you can add your sitemap at top of the page.
Here, ‘submitted’ and ‘indexed’ URLs are listed and if the number differs, we recommend looking into this further as there could be an error preventing some pages from being indexed.
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