Phoenix SEO Sitemap

Understanding The Significance Of Sitemaps In SEO

Using an XML sitemap can help improve your search rankings. So if improving your website’s search result ranking is your prime objective, then creating an XML sitemap is a good idea. Top search engines like Yahoo and others make use of these procedures to grasp the structure of your website and analyzing the content of your site with ease. Google pioneered the concept of sitemaps which was later implemented and endorsed by Yahoo and MSN, almost a year later after its inception. Commonly referred to as URL inclusion protocols, Sitemaps is a system of protocols engineered to direct search engines on crawling the specific sections and disregarding the others.

You can better think of your website as a building with many floors and apartments. Without a blueprint, it would be difficult to go through all the floors and the apartments when required. Similarly, the blueprint for a website is the XML Sitemap. Search engines like Google or Yahoo make use of an XML Sitemap to explore your site in an organized manner without any hindrance. This approach makes it easy for search engines to locate your specific pages while crawling your website. In this tactic, all pages of the site are indexed, and you are not restricted only to homepage indexing.

SEO sitemap drawing
clock on a desk by a computer

Why Invest Time Creating an XML sitemap

As explained earlier, the prime importance is improving your ranking, and an XML sitemap serves as a method to help your rankings. This strategy helps you out when:

  • Your website has a complex system. You have used many internal links throughout your website.
  • You are just starting with your site, and having a few external links and limited scope.
  • You have an aged site where most of the content has been archived.
  • Your site is e-commerce focused and is relying on dynamic pages.

Advantages of Creating an XML Sitemap

Consider a sitemap as a guiding system which works primarily to move data to different search engines. This helps in:

  • It will list all of the URLs scattered all across your site. This also includes those pages in the deep-end of your site which otherwise are out of the reach of search engines.
  • It sets up the mechanism of crawl precedence where search engines get focused and start giving priority to your page. The most important pages of your site can be tagged in your XML sitemap. This will guide the Bots to turn their directions to those pages which are of better value for you and your SEO plans.
  • Creates transitory information that is required at times. To enable search engines to crawl your website better two non-compulsory tags can be included. These tags are “lastmod” and “changefreq.” The former is an indicator which depicts when the page last changed while the later, i.e., “changefreq” informs about any upcoming changes to your page.
  • Directs your data to Google Webmaster Central. This allows you to view the Googlebot activity with no complications.
creating an xml sitemap in wordpress
sitemap generator in wordpress

The Method of Implementing Your XML sitemap With Ease

Although it may seem daunting, it is a reasonably simple task to create your XML sitemap. You can find many online website content management systems, including WordPress, which automate the task of implementing an XML sitemap, to assist with your SEO goals. While using a tool to create XML sitemaps automatically saves time, you should also make sure that your output is in the required format and has no errors in it. If we focus on Google alone, then the protocol that is required is the Sitemap Protocol 0.9. The sitemap should have the following structure:

  • Start off with an opening tag and close with a closing tag.
  • Within a tag, it is pertinent that the protocol standard, i.e., the namespace is visibly specified.
  • Make use of the parent XML tag. This means that for each URL there must be an inclusion of an entry.
  • For each parent tag, there must be a successive child entry.
  • Make use of encoding, more specifically the UTF-8 encoding.

To check that your XML sitemap is implemented correctly and is accurately launched to your web server, simply verify the sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools. This resource is available for your verification, and you can double check for proper structuring and uploading of the sitemap.

If the websites are smaller in size and the content has slow updates then such sites can make use of an XML Sitemap Generator. You can set up a time frame in which you expect to update your web pages and similarly can specify the modification dates for the site which are most probable. The generator will launch your sitemap; you are then required to upload the sitemap to the root of your domain, i.e., www.mywebpage.com/sitemap.xml.

The tool does come with certain limitations. For instance, you are restricted to include only five hundred pages. The “change frequency” is similar for all URLs and therefore for websites which frequently update their content, this approach becomes less practical.

sitemap in google webmaster tools