What is XML Sitemap

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What is "XML sitemap"?

Talking about sitemaps then it is nothing but a platform that provides a mean to inform Google Search Engine about all important pages on your site that we normal online visitor might not be able to discover or reach. In fact, in its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap is more like a listing of all the pages on your website.

It is an XML file that lists all the URLs for a website along with added metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how frequently it generally changes, and how significant it is in comparison to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more smartly crawl the site. Perhaps, it is these sitemaps tat make it lot easier for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. With Sitemap on your web server, you facilitate Search Engine crawlers to know and find pages that are available and which have recently changed.

How XML Sitemap operates?

Submitting an XML sitemap of your site to Google is surely the most efficient and the fastest method to get your website deeply indexed by Google. The more quality pages are indexed, the better it is for your website to get optimized successfully.

In general, web crawlers discover pages from links within the site and from other websites. The key role that this sitemap play is it supplements this data and allows crawler to pick up all URLs and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. However, you must note that using the Sitemap protocol never guarantees that web pages get included in search engines. Primarily it just facilitates with the hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your website.

Why to Create XML Sitemaps?

For any website, creating and submitting a Sitemap is very essential. This is because it helps in ensuring that search engine like Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that one may never be able to discover by Google's normal crawling procedure.

Moreover, by using sitemap you also provide Google with metadata about specific types of content on your site, including video and images. For an example, an image Sitemap entry can offer information about an image's subject matter, type, and license. These sitemaps are also very handy in situation where you have to provide additional information about your site like date it was last updated, and how often you expect the page to change. This additional information provided about your site to search engines further helps in complementing the traditional methods of crawling the web.

Sitemaps are particularly helpful if your website is new and has few links to it. Sitemap helps Googlebot crawl the web by following links from one page to another. Therefore, if your website is not linked properly, then it may get very difficult for any user to discover it. Apart from this, XML Sitemaps are also helpful in situation when -

  • our web-site has dynamic content
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other
  • Your website has complex navigation

Notification:

All the biggest search engines make use of same XML-based protocol. This means that having an XML Sitemap will let Google, Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing (MSN), and Ask have up-to-date information any time you upload a new map file to your server.

One must not forget that a right XML Sitemap can help you get indexed fast for just the right terms, a bad sitemap can get your site buried.