What is XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that contains individual pages of the website. It helps search engines to get a much better understanding of the structure and volume of content of a website.
Is XML Sitemap necessary for SEO?
Yes, it is important for your website SEO.
It enables search engines to crawl your website more intelligently because they get the data especially all URLs in a structured format.
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Is XML Sitemap increases website ranking in Google SERP result?
Generally, it’s important to understand that XML sitemaps do not directly impact rankings, although they can also be very helpful for a new website with few external links as well as for large archives. Furthermore, Google uses sitemaps to understand what the canonical version of the given URL is.
Personally, I believe the best use case for an XML sitemap is essentially to see this as a tool that tells Google that there is a new URL that they should consider crawling asap. Google is much smarter than just relying on you telling them which URL is more important than another. Don’t waste your time on the optional stuff.
What are the different types of XML Sitemap?
Search engines do support different types of sitemaps, so say you want to be listed in Google news, then there is a specific Google news sitemap format. The same is also true for images and other media content, for example, video.
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Is XML Sitemap visible to end users?
XML sitemaps are generally not visible to your end users. Usually, they reside in locations like domain.com/sitemap.xml. However, it’s also possible to host sitemaps on third-party domains, which, especially for larger-scale sites, can make sense.
What are the limitations of XML Sitemap?
When you create an XML sitemap you need to consider a couple of things, including limitations. For example, very large sitemaps need to be divided into several smaller ones, so the limitation is that the sitemap cannot contain more than 50,000 URLs and it cannot extend 50 megabytes in file size (uncompressed). Generally, the recommendation is to use gzip compression and UTF8 encoding. Be also aware of cryptic URLs. Once you have to split your sitemap into multiple ones, use the sitemap index file – this is essentially a container file that links to all available sub-sitemaps.
Can I create XML Sitemap manually?
Yes, you can create an XML sitemap manually.
When manually creating an XML sitemap be aware of the different elements that need to be present in the sitemap file. The only content really required is actually the URL itself which you want to submit using the sitemap. Optionally you can also submit a last modified date, a change frequency and you can also use and help Google with priorities. From a practical standpoint, generating those optional data points with the XML sitemap is usually a waste of time.
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How to tell Google about the existence of XML Sitemap?
Make sure to tell Google about your sitemap’s existence. There are multiple ways to do this. You can either use the robot.txt file to link to the XML sitemap or the sitemap index file. Also, you can use your Google Search Console and there is an option in the sitemaps tab which allows you to submit one or multiple sitemaps. In this case, you can get some interesting information from Google. They will basically tell you how many URLs you have submitted, how many of them have been worthy and how they are indexed.
Important points to consider for creating your website XML Sitemap
Breaking sitemaps down into various files can also have other purposes. For example, you can do it for categorization – which then helps you understand if all the major categories have been indexed. There is no limit to having multiple sitemaps, which is a great feature. So if you want to debug and understand how Google sees your overall URL inventory consider creating multiple sitemaps based on the different contents that you have.
Sitemap quality is very important. A site map must only contain URLs that serve an HTTP 200 response. There should be no redirects, there should be no URLs that are blocked for robots using either robots.txt or the robots meta tag. Keep it clean and Google will love your sitemap file!