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Why are Sitemaps So Important in SEO? Let’s Find Out

Okay, let's go back to the days when you were in school. Do you remember that no matter what project you were working on, you always had to create an "Index" or "Contents" corner? This page would have all the information about your project, it was used as a guide to understanding what have you worked upon.

Similarly, now when we talk about a sitemap, it's nothing but a file that stores all the information given on your website. You can even use an online sitemap generator for your purpose. It includes pages, multimedia attachments, animations, text, and their relationships with each other. When Google stumbles upon this sitemap, it will crawl your website more efficiently. Why?

It will help Google carefully gauge the various crucial details that you think are important to your website. Moreover, you can let Google crawl additional information like when was the page last updated or if you have the same version of the website in some other languages.

So far so good. But,

Why Do You Need A Sitemap?

You can put in all the required specifics of your website content. For instance,

  • For a video entry, you can mention the running duration, category, title, age limit, etc.
  • For an image entry, you may incorporate the subject matter, format, license, etc.
  • For news content, you can specify the release date, title of the article, etc.

Now, if your pages are properly linked, Google can generally find the majority of your site. This means that all your webpage must be accessed via some sort of navigation, such as linked with the menu section or access to individual pages.

Here are some pointers that will help you to conclude whether you need a sitemap or not-

  • If your website is huge
    Naturally, if the website is quite big, Google web crawlers might lose on some details like recently updated information
  • If your website has several content pages that are all isolated or not linked properly
    You can use the sitemap to reference these pages and safeguard the assurance that Google won't miss out on anything.
  • If your website is fairly new without any external links
    The easiest way for Google crawl bots to index your site is by following one external link to the other. However, if you have not been able to build up backlinks yet, a sitemap could become in handy.
  • If your website has been incorporated with rich media content
    By rich media content we mean, videos and images as displayed in the Google News corner. In this instance, sitemaps can offer extra benefits by giving Google additional details for search.

Sitemap.xml for Bots and Crawlers

The XML sitemap documents will be accessed via bots and crawlers to inform the search engines like Google and Bing where all of your pages can be located and how they are organized. By using an XML sitemap checker, you stand a chance to know whether a particular site is oriented with an XML sitemap or not. You can search for any site on the web and grasp the required information.

Here's what you need to do-

Insert the URL of the website you wish to check. In just seconds, you will get the whole analysis and you can start interpreting the data.

Different Types of Sitemaps

  • XML Sitemap
    This is the most popular sitemap that's used by search engines. The XML sitemaps can be found in the domain's root directory. It has a maximum of 50, 000 URLs and uncompressed file size of 50MB. If you go over it, you will have to distribute the URLs among several sitemaps. Then, you can merge them all into a single sample index file.
  • HTML Sitemap
    The next one is the HTML sitemaps. It can be viewed by your website visitors and guide them towards a specific page. You can use this to increase your user experience. Usually, it's linked in the website footers.

Why is A Sitemap Crucial for SEO?

Search engines sift through a million websites, and you want to make sure that yours stand out. Due to the stiff competition in the digital world, people are now using SEO and sitemaps together in hopes of better rankings in search engines.

The most important factors that search engines look for while crawling webpage are .txt and Meta tags, and some other relevant data that could help them rank the content in relevance to the search intent.

Now, when you generate a sitemap, such as an XML file, you have to ensure that it comprises all of the web pages and then, position it on your landing page. By doing this, you are allowing the visitors to grab hold of all the information about each page. As a result, the total number of pages being crawled and indexed by search engines increases and gives a boost to the page rank.

When you are creating an XML sitemap, you have to include brief descriptions about the content with each accompanying link. While you are doing this, you are bound to incorporate keywords and other relevant data. Your sitemap will now be considered as a keyword-rich document, making it easier to attain a high rank. When it comes to SEO, you have to make use of every other resource to improve and enhance your ranking over time. When you have a high search engine position, your brand visibility escalates further, eventually helping you drive more traffic.

You may construct a sitemap for a website using various mapping tools which you can then upload on the search engine's webmaster tools. This whole process gets a lot easier when you employ a sitemap generator. From your end, make sure that you keep the sitemap file abreast with the latest developments on your website for optimal outcomes. With this, you can expect that your content is getting noticed by the search engines, and users get access to all the important information.

Let's Sum It Up

You may think of a sitemap as an unnecessary task but for others, it could practically be a gold mine to increase their SEO efforts. Here's when you don't need a sitemap

  • You have a small site of approximately 500 pages or less
  • You have all your pages properly linked together and Google can crawl it with ease.
  • You don't have any such media files like video, audio, images, etc.
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