XML Sitemap: everything you need to know

Unmasking RankBrain Mysteries: What It Is, How It Works, and How It Can Influence Your Rankings in Google
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You know what is a Sitemap and why it is so important that your site has one?

This is a very important issue for SEO . If you still do not know its function or not yet implemented a on your website, it is good to follow these tips.

Before you begin, let’s understand in general what it is and what it is for a Sitemap. You can read the article below, but to understand more broadly, we also recommend you watch the video below:

 

What is Sitemap

Sitemap is literally a map of your site on which you indicate to robots Google and other search engines which are the pages you want to index and store the servers. It is a simple XML file, which can not be more than 50,000 URLs (and 10MB).

When you make a map is intended, ultimately, make the most tangible site to Google. The intention is that he can understand the existing structure within your site so Scour your content more effectively.

Better understanding of how it is structured your site and which URLs should preferably be indexed by the search robot, you create a more efficient communication with Google and gives preference for it prioritizes pages that are listed in this file.

Why create an XML Sitemap: the benefits for your company

Make sure that all the pages can be indexed

Pages that receive little or links are not very accessible (get many clicks of the main pages) may end up not being identified and indexed by Google. Having these pages in the Sitemap is a guarantee that the searcher knows the existence of this content and can index it and present it as a search result.

This is especially important for new sites (which received few links) or sites with dynamic content.

Help search engines understand the structure of site indexing and better content

The sitemap information helps search engines to better know your site. This can help them in selecting the items home in the case of duplicate content or identify the main pages, choosing a more appropriate timetable for doing crawling.

An interesting option is that your company can add tags and give “suggestions” priority and frequency for each page. The last date change also helps to indicate to Google which content should be replayed.

Giving a positive signal of confidence

Create and submit the Sitemap signals to the search engines that you are a concerned webmaster and is investing in the quality of your website. This works as a positive sign of trust / authority and can help in ranking.

What is the format / extension of a Sitemap?

It is important to talk about it before then discussing the issue. When you end a Sitemap, which in this file format should be saved?

There is confusion and many people think that there is only one Sitemap format, when in fact there are other options as well. The most common is actually the XML format, but let’s start talking about other options.

TXT

A Sitemap TXT is the most basic and most likely, you will not need any programmer or application to create it.

All you need to do in this option is to simply list all the URLs of your site you would like to communicate to Google. The browser then accesses the pages by previewing them and indexing them on your server.

Simple: the only choice you have to do is, for saving this file, choose a TXT format.

Atom-RSS

Another type of format is the feed from your site. This is very common in blogs where you can use the link itself feed news like a Sitemap.

However it is not recommended that this is the only option sitemap on your site. The feed news only reports the most recent posts. So it’s interesting that you have a complete map and list all the structure of your site, not only the new updates.

XML

Finally, the most famous of all format, the XML Sitemap . In this option, you can, and list the URL you’d like to visit Google, put some more information such as modified date of URLs and priority of a page against other.

If you do not know to manually create an XML, there are several tools – free and paid – who do this quickly and dynamically as XML-Sitemaps.com .

These are just two reasons for making the XML not only the most popular format and used as well as the most efficient option.

How to create your Sitemap easiest and fastest way

There are some tools that greatly facilitate the creation of Sitemaps. If your website / blog uses the WordPress platform, just install a plugin like Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps or own Yoast SEO , which also has a feature to generate this type of file.

For other sites, you can use the Google Sitemap Generator , Google itself. The download tool helps a lot in creating a map from scratch.

Finally, you can create the file manually, as a document in XML format. All formatting instructions can be found on this page sitemap.org .

Where the Sitemap should be

The Sitemap must be hosted on your server, in the same subfolder that urls indicated therein.

For example, we use a general statement for all Digital results, as we do in https://resultadosdigitais.com.br/sitemap_index.xml, or we could create Sitemaps for each specific part of the site and put it in an address like https : //resultadosdigitais.com.br/blog/sitemap.xml.

Types of Sitemaps

Arriving here, it’s time to go deeper yet in the matter. It is good to understand that there is no one type of Sitemap. Many people do not know, but there is a model in which you just throw the URLs to a file.

Depending on the focus of your business or your website, you will need your map to be more specific.

Here we have three other Sitemaps. Come on:

1. News

If your site is a news portal and you want to appear in the search of Google News, it’s very important that you have a news map.

Out of curiosity, to appear among the news you must first register on the Google News Publisher Center and then have a Sitemap updated news.

This makes it much easier when it comes to the engine pulling this data to Google News results.

The own Google helps teach more deeply to make a News Sitemap.

2. Videos

Google also has a search that is only on video. And if you want to show up with video content, it is very important to have that map video to help the seeker to understand that content and index it.

Another big benefit in a Video Sitemap is that it has to be done in XML. This way, you can pass information to Google, such as thumbnail, description, and the time length of the video.

A special tip for those who have ecommerce: we know that a video on a product page increases the conversion rate. So if you already use video on the product page, consider putting together a Sitemap to benefit as well in SEO. This tends to increase the click through rate on search results.

3. Images

Finally, the image Sitemaps are particularly recommended for sites that work with photography or high-volume images.

This type of map is important to ensure that the images on your site are well indexed and appearing in the results of search Google Images .

Some good practices on Sitemap

1. Divide your Sitemap

Create not only one but several files. Make maps by categories of your website. This will greatly help to understand where there are indexing issues on your site.

Further, let’s see how to communicate to Google that there is a Sitemap. But when there is a division you can identify problems on your site, and it is quite important to do that.

2. Create an index

If you create more than one Sitemap, you do not need to communicate that there are, for example, 100 of them.

You can create a single file that is an index indicating where the other Sitemaps.

The Google support has a specific topic to teach you to create an index Sitemap.

3. Less than 10mb and 50,000 URLs

If you have worked well the two above good practice, do not have to worry about these two details.

But it is important to note that Google can not work with Sitemaps with more than 10mb in size or more than 50,000 URLs inserted.

4. canonical URLs

Finally, one last good practice is to always work with a canonical URL.

If your site has, for example, a version without www and www, and one of the versions directs to the other, list in your Sitemap only the final version.

If the version chosen for the user to be redirected is www, your Sitemap must be that version.

I created my Sitemap, what do I do now?

To complete the task, you first need to zoom the map on your server. Then, you access the Google Search Console , is the recognition of your domain ownership and, even there, add your Sitemap to Google becomes aware of its existence.

The cool thing is that when up your map in Google Webmaster Tools, you can know which of the submitted URLs have been indexed. And this is where we can identify problems or bottlenecks in indexing your site.

Another tip is to signal where your Sitemap is hosted on your server in a robots.txt file. Put a link to your file within that other file.

To learn more about SEO, be sure to download our free eBook The Complete Guide of SEO . There is a chapter just about Sitemaps there, if you want to delve further into the subject.