WordPress SEO in 5 Minutes – What is a Sitemap?
XML sitemaps help search engines crawl a site better. Here’s a quickie on all you need to know about sitemaps from our SEO agency in Perth.
What is an XML sitemap?
The XML sitemap is a file that displays a list of all the URLs that you want to be available to users. In other words, it is a list of URLs in XML format that search engines can easily crawl and index.
Also, it tells search engines which links need to be indexed, which ones needto be left out, how frequently you update the website and other information like the number of images and videos.
An XML sitemap is not a direct ranking factor, but it allows search engines to crawl your website better and faster. This helps in finding and showing your content faster and can further help in search results in the long run.
A Sitemap.xml file has a limit of 50,000 URLs. That is a good enough limit for most sites. If you need to include more than that, you can still do it. Have one master sitemap file that links to specific sitemaps. Each of these linked maps can further include 50,000 URLs.
What does a sitemap look like?
See below an example of a map created by the Yoast SEO plugin.
Why does your site need one?
Sitemaps ensure better crawlability in more than one way.
How to set up a sitemap?
Submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console
Search engines can find a sitemap once it is created, but it is always better to submit it manually to Google Search Console. It is a free tool that lets you monitor your site’s performance in search results. After you have added and verified your account, you can submit it in the console. Once Google has crawled your site, you can see sitemap statistics. These include the number of pages that got indexed, number of links that Google found, when was thelast update done, crawl errors and more. This information lets you correct any errors, which is preventing pages from getting indexed properly.
Crawling – It is the name given to the process by which Google search bots visit and analyse the content on a page. In simpler terms, crawling = visiting a site.
Indexing – Means that your page is eligible to display in SERPs. It is the collection of contents (found while crawling) to be displayed in SERPs.
Backlinks – Also known as inbound link or incoming links. When one website content mentions another site, and links to it, it is called a backlink.
Google Search Console – A free web tool from Google to monitor and maintain the performance of your site in Google Search Results.