XML sitemaps are like maps for a search engine, which helps the engine lead prospects to your desired location. They function as guides for search engines to include your sites as web pages in the search results.
Sitemaps are an essential aspect of Search Engine Optimization, a fact backed up by Google itself. So how should you work with sitemap xml seo to enhance the reach on your website? Read on further to understand how sitemaps function and how it affects SEO practices.
What exactly is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that has the records of all the crucial pages of your website. Search engines use bots known as crawlers to steer the web to find specific pages. Sitemaps quickly lead the crawlers to index the pages you want the visitors to look at any time they check online.
Which websites require an XML Sitemap?
You must create an XML sitemap if:
- Your website has a vast construct with a multitude of pages on it.
- You regularly input new pages on the website or modify the existing pages.
- Your website has poor internal linking that abandons some pages.
XML Sitemap Format
A typical XML sitemap includes the following components:
- An XML version indicator allows the crawlers to identify the type of file they are analyzing.
- The URL set enlists all URLs in the sitemap.
- The <url> tag contains all the information associated with respective URLs, such as the location, last modification date, and frequency of updates.
How is an XML sitemap relevant for SEO?
Indexing pages on your website is a great way to let search engines decide where your site will rank. Therefore, including an XML sitemap for your website can facilitate your SEO.
While just having an XML sitemap is essential, you can optimize it further to enhance your SEO potential by doing the following:
Only include the money pages
Your XML sitemap should only include the pages you want the search engines to discover. These are called ‘money pages’ as they are responsible for revenue generation.
Stay clear of non-200 HTTP status codes
URLs that respond with a non-200 HTTP code are inappropriate for your XML sitemap, as including these poorly affects your SEO and wastes your crawl budget.
If the search engine indexes all your pages, it will drag down your overall grade due to irrelevant pages. Specifying the relevant pages through your XML sitemap improves your chance of getting a better average grade.
Exclude no–indexed URLs
There is no point in including no–indexed URLs in the XML sitemap, as these URLs do not attract traffic from search engines.
Avoid URLs that come under the authority of another URL
Avoid including the second URL in the sitemap if a URL has authority over another URL. Like a noindex URL, these URLs do not serve any purpose when crawlers analyze them.
You can improve your website’s prospects by utilising the tips discussed above for sitemap xml seo. An XML sitemap plays a huge role in letting the search engines determine which pages on your website are essential. It results in the indexing of relevant pages, which boosts ranking. Hence, if you are looking to boost the results of your SEO tactics, utilising XML sitemaps is crucial.