Sitemap - A Comprehensive Guide

In order for the pages of a website and their content to be ranked – displayed according to user queries – they must be indexed by a search engine robot. When a resource has a sitemap or sitemap, it is easier for Google to find the addresses of the pages.

In this article we will tell you what sitemap is and how to create sitemap.xml correctly.

What is a sitemap

A sitemap or sitemap is a file that contains a list of URLs of all pages of a resource that need to be indexed. It is placed in the root folder and in most cases is called sitemap.xml.

The structure of the site resembles the structure of a book with sections, subsections and pages. When a reader needs to find something in a textbook or encyclopaedia, they first look at the content and find the page they are looking for. The sitemap XML file acts as the content on the site, helping search engine robots locate pages.

How to view the sitemap

The content of a sitemap is available not only to robots, but also to site visitors. Since the URL list is usually placed in a folder with server files, the sitemap address consists of two elements – the site name and the map name.

How to view the sitemap of someone else’s site? Let’s take the Apple website as an example and add /sitemap.xml to the domain name in the address bar.

What a sitemap is used for

The main role of sitemap is to navigate the robot and direct it to important URLs so that they get into the search engine index.

It is important to note that having a sitemap does not guarantee that pages will be indexed. Also, search engines may find a URL without a sitemap, for example, if it is linked to from another web page. At the same time, Google recommends that you add a list of URLs to your site for indexing.

Like the page crawling instructions for robots – robots.txt, a sitemap is an important optimisation attribute.

When a sitemap is useful

A site has many pages
Let’s imagine a large online shop or other multi-page site. With a large number of pages, the robot may miss some of them. A sitemap increases the likelihood that important URLs will be included in the index and, as a result, appear in the results.

The site is new
For a new resource to start ranking, you need to help the search engine to discover its pages. If there are no mentions of the URL on other pages on the Internet, it will be more difficult for the robot to find the URL and index it.

Creating a sitemap and informing crawlers of its existence will speed up the indexing of pages and their display on search queries.

Site content is constantly being updated
For a site that is already in the index, it may also be relevant to accelerate the indexation of pages. For example, news and entertainment portals are constantly adding new articles and are interested in the fact that users faster find fresh materials in the output.

Also in the map can be indicated the date of the last update of the page or the frequency with which it is updated. In this way, robots are informed when to re-index a URL.

Certain URLs are not linked to from other pages on the site
Typically, pages within a site are linked to each other. For example, the home page links to product categories, category pages contain URLs to product cards, and product cards may link to a page about payment and shipping.

When the robot finds links on a page, it can follow them, gradually crawling more and more URLs. If the URL is not linked to other pages on the site, the crawler will be able to find it thanks to sitemap.

The site has a lot of images and video files
Not only the pages of a site, but also their individual elements can participate in the ranking results. For example, Google has sections where only images or videos are displayed.

Pictures and videos that the user sees on the site, in the code of the pages look like links to files.The browser accesses these links to the media files and displays the visual content on the screen. If you create a separate map for these URLs, it will draw the robots’ attention to this type of content.

Leave A Comment

Complimentary SEO Audit