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What Is An XML Sitemap, and Why One Should Have It?

What Is An XML Sitemap, and Why One Should Have It

Article Overview

Post Views: 434 Views

Posted on: Saturday December 11, 2021

Reading Time: 12 minutes
Written by: Sanjali Das

A business exists on the simple principle of “to see and to be seen”; the better they stand on both aspects, the more it nears expansion. Especially in this age of digitalization, where the world exists on Google, and everything is a few clicks away, it is of primary importance for a particular establishment to optimize their accessibility, but first their visibility. A step towards establishing a successful appeal on any search engine starts with reflecting on how a search engine can reach a website—this is where XML sitemap comes into the picture.

 

What is an XML Sitemap?

 

An Extensible Markup Language or XML Sitemap is a text file used to derail all URLs on a particular website. It may include extra information (metadata) on each URL, with the insight of the last update, how important they are, in addition to whether there are any other versions of the URL created in other languages. All of this helps the search engine crawl your website more efficiently, allowing any changes to be fed to them directly, including adding a new page or removing old. In short, an XML sitemap helps a search engine easily navigate through one’s website content. It gives the search engine a list of all your content in a machine-readable format. With this, any search engine like Google can quickly discover and index your content.

 

Earlier, websites used a link on their main pages, labeled “Sitemap”. This page had a list of all the pages on that said website. This HTML sitemap is still used especially by government websites, but majorly sitemaps are published in an XML format now, and the target audience has evolved from people to search engines.

 

Through an XML sitemap, a website owner tells search engines about all the pages on their website. Furthermore, it also lays out for the search engine to understand which links on your website are more important in comparison to others and how frequently your website gets updated.

 

Though XML sitemaps do not boost the search engine rankings, they indeed allow the search engines to crawl better on your website, which means they can find more content and show it in search results, which conclusively results in more search traffic and improves SEO rankings.

 

Why should you have an XML Sitemap? 

 

Why should you have an XML Sitemap

 

There are many unmatched and unsurpassed advantages of an XML Sitemap for your entity. Specifically, from a Search Engine Optimization or SEO’s point of view, sitemaps serve the following purposes:-

 

(1) Index

 

Even though adding a sitemap does not affect search engine ranking, if there is a page on a specific website that is not indexed, then the sitemap provides a way for search engines to still know about that page.

 

(2) Discover

 

Sitemaps are ideally used when one starts their first blog or creates a new website. Generally, new websites do not have any backlinks, making it hard for search engines to discover their content. This is why Google and Bing categorically enable new website owners to submit a sitemap in their webmaster tools, allowing search engine bots to discover and index the content quickly.

 

(3) Emphasise 

 

The sitemaps’ importance is not limited to new websites only. It holds equal importance for established and popular websites because it allows such sites to highlight and emphasize which specific parts of their websites are more important than the rest, updated frequently so that the search engines visit and index the content accordingly.

 

Pages that must be in the XML Sitemap

 

To be able to determine this, always start by thinking of the relevance of a URL and when a visitor lands on a particular URL, is it just the correct result? Then, ask yourself whether you want visitors to land on that URL? If the answer is no, you know that it probably shouldn’t be in it. Although if you don’t want that URL to show in the search results, then you will have to add a ‘noindex’ tag because simply leaving it out of the sitemap doesn’t mean that Google won’t be indexing the URL, since if Google can find it following the links, then Google can even index the URL.

 

For instance, taking a new blog, you will want Google to find the recent posts swiftly, ensuring that the blog is accessible to the target audience in the search results. For that, you must create an XML sitemap right from the initial moment. You can make a handful of first posts and categories for them and add some tags, to begin with. However, there will not be sufficient content to fill the tag overview pages, making them ‘thin content’, which lacks value for visitors at this juncture. At such point, you should drop off the tag’s URLs from the sitemap for now and set the tag pages to ‘noindex, follow’ as you don’t want people to find them in the search results.

 

If talking about media and images, then such XML sitemap is not of any substantial use for most websites since images and media are probably already used within the pages and posts and therefore, they will already be included in the ‘post’ or ‘page’ sitemap. Hence having a separate ‘media’ or ‘image’ sitemap would be unnecessary, unless and until the images are your primary business itself, for example, for photographers who wish to showcase a separate ‘media’ and ‘image’ sitemap to Google.

 

PRO TIP

For Google to find your XML sitemap faster, you must add it to your Google Search Console Account. Under the ‘Sitemaps’ section, you will immediately find that your XML sitemap is already added, and if not, then you can add your sitemap at the top of the page, or you may add more links pointing to the content that has not been indexed yet, and to ensure that Google has indexed all the pages in your sitemap.

 

Concluding thoughts

To ensure that their website can assemble a robust XML sitemap, business partner with SEO Companies in Dubai, who alter, enhance and analyze the content for better reach and ranking on the search engine. Building the XML sitemap is the first and foremost job of all SEO agencies in Dubai to generate reach and garner traffic. With such conscious and cautious efforts, an establishment can carve a niche for the target market on the web effectively and efficiently.

Written by: Sanjali Das @proweb.ae

Sanjali Das is a Content Writer at Pro Web. She is pursuing Law and is an ardent writer and reader. She interests in writing blogs, articles, snippets and commentaries in diverse topics.