An XML sitemap is a file that serves as a blueprint to help search engines find, crawl and index the content of your website. Sitemaps also tell search engines which pages you own are the most important.
There are several types of sitemaps:
The XML sitemap is a file that we can upload to Google Search Console to tell the Googlebot itself which parts of our website are most relevant and should be taken into account when indexing.
It acts as a list of priorities for the search engines facilitating their work.
In addition, there are some special cases where creating the sitemap is very useful.
You know that Google largely finds web pages through links.
If your web project is new and has only a handful of external links, then a sitemap will help you a lot to help search engines find your most relevant pages.
They are also very helpful when you have a web property with thousands of URLs.
Logically, not all URLs in your domain have inbound links from other websites.
In these cases, Google will have a hard time finding all those pages. That’s where sitemaps come into play: providing a complete list of the most important URLs on your website.
< urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" > http://www.example.com/ 2005-01-01 monthly 0.8
The sitemap.XML file of your website can be created automatically or manually.
If you have a WordPress installation or a CMS that allows you to install Rank Math or Yoast SEO, you can do it automatically.
You only have to download, install and activate one of these two plugins.
You can also use another similar plugin.
If you can not use any of these you can always use this sitemaps generator: https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
Once created you will only have:
Google supports different formats of sitemaps:
Currently, Google does not use the <priority> attribute in sitemaps and the size must be less than 5 thousand URLs to its weight less than 50 MB. Although, it allows you to upload more than one sitemap.
There are two equally effective ways to make your sitemap file known to Google:
The first method is sufficient to include the sitemap command followed by the web address where the text file is located.
That is something like:
For the second method, you will have to be logged into your Google Search Console → Drop down the “Index” tab on the left side → Go to “sitemap” → and you will only have to include the extension where your file is located by clicking submit.
Having an XML sitemap of your website is a good way to tell search engines which URLs or pages of your domain they should take into account when crawling and indexing your property.
This makes their work much easier and will allow you to communicate to Google automatically the new content created on your website or the changes made on existing URLs.
Important: Keep in mind that both Google and Bing do not allow sitemap files larger than 50 MB uncompressed or more than 50,000 URLs. If your file is larger than this remember to create a list of several sitemaps in your file and upload it to Google.
Links and recommended reading:
The Sitemap xml of a web page is a file in the root domain that helps tell search engines which URLs are most important to your website. If you want to improve your SEO this is one of the fundamental requirements to comply with. Check out our guide to learn how to set it up.
The sitemap file is usually located at the root of the server with your domain name followed by this extension: example.com/sitemap_index.XML or example.com/sitemap.XML. If you need to check yours we suggest you try these endings with your domain.
A very easy way to create a sitemap in WordPress is by installing a similar Yoast SEO plugin. To do this go to the plugin section of your installation → Select new plugin → type “Yoast SEO” → Click “install”.
HTML sitemaps are the equivalent of an XML sitemap… but for users. They are basically an HTML page with a list of the most important URLs of your website linked. They are used to improve internal linking.