What is a Sitemap? It’s purpose and effect on SEO

What is a Sitemap? It’s purpose and effect on SEO

Sitemap
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Wondering What is a Sitemap? A sitemap is a list of contents of a website which can be accessed by users as well as bots or crawlers. It can be a document where you display your website’s structure and links between different web pages of your website. We know how Google gets its data, Google bots crawl around the web in search of new links and bots travel through the web using links.

When a bot gets a link to your site it crawls the entire site through links from one page to another and then another and then another and so on, like this bots crawls a website completely by using various internal and external links to a site.

This is a major reason why sitemap becomes important to implement. As it helps not only a user in exploring and navigating through your site but it also helps the crawlers to fetch correct link structure of your site which helps you to get your pages found easily.

Sitemaps become more important for a highly dynamic website has a huge number of pages added and deleted on daily basis and the requirement of getting them found by google increases. Earlier sitemaps were made in HTML but today they have evolved into XML (Extensible Markup Language) files which target google bots. It is advisable to use XML sitemaps as there is no scope for error due to strict syntax regulations.

The sample entry of an XML sitemap

xml

Google Sitemaps

Google Sitemaps is a feature provided by Google to its users where they can list all their web pages under a single XML sitemap, which can be easily crawled by Google search bots. Google Search Console allows the user to create and update their sitemaps using Google Webmaster Tools.

It is a great way of letting google know that you have added new web pages that need to be crawled. Rather than submitting a URL to google each time you add a page, updating your XML sitemaps is much easier.

Google Sitemaps and SEO

Though adding a sitemap doesn’t guarantee that your page will be indexed or will rank higher in search engine result pages, it helps in letting Google spiders find your web pages easily. Read what Google says about SEO and sitemaps: “ Note that use of a sitemap doesn't guarantee you that all the web pages listed in your sitemap can be crawled or indexed as Google processes rely mainly on complex algorithms. In most cases, webmasters benefit from sitemap submission, and in no case can you be penalized for it. ” 

Adding an XML sitemap will not get your pages indexed but it will aid google crawlers to learn about your site’s architecture and improve its crawling schedule. This doesn’t affect search engine optimization directly but indirectly it does help in letting google know that your site gets updated frequently and increases your website’s overall visibility for Google. If you still don’t have a sitemap, it’s time to make one.

Check out these useful tools online for generating XML sitemaps:

  • XML-sitemaps: A popular tool for XML sitemap generation which provides unlimited access and free updates for lifetime.
  • Online XML Sitemap Generator: It is a useful online XML sitemap generator for up to 3500+ pages in its free version. Provides complimentary broken link reports too.

We believe if we make it easier for google bots to crawl data it will make easier for Google to update the changes easily and fast, ultimately helping users to get latest and relevant information quickly which is leading to User Experience Optimization.

Hope this article helps you while you create an XML sitemap for your website. Though it doesn’t affect SEO directly there is no harm in trying to incorporate any best practice that adds up to your overall SEO effort.
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