Know all about XML sitemap, follow SEO best practices.
When it comes to XML sitemap creation, we search for sitemap generator tools and just put the website url and it generates the default sitemap. But do you know about all XML tags used in the generated sitemap. Can you manually set the tags by yourself? If you know about all tags you can create sitemap for any website whether you are using WordPress, WIX or any Other CMS.
This guide will help you to understand all aspects of a Sitemap.
What Is Sitemap?
Sitemap is the best way to convey information to search engines about the website and different pages of website available for crawling.
How often the website page changes?
Why it’s more important?
How it is relative to other website pages?
When it was last updated?
All such information is conveyed using xml sitemap to different search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to crawl website in a better way. It’s like you are giving hints to web robots or crawlers.
Why Sitemap Is Needed?
XML Sitemap is needed to improve the crawling of website here are some reasons why you need sitemap.
1. Large Website- If website have thousands of pages, sitemap will help crawlers to crawl new pages or updated pages of such a large website.
2. New Website- If website is new and has very few external links sitemap can help search engines in crawling.
Types Of Sitemap
Here are different types of sitemap you can create for your website.
XML Sitemap – Xml sitemap is the common but important sitemap type. It is preferred by webmaster to inform search engines crawlers about website pages for indexing. Xml sitemaps are supported by all major search engines likes Google, Yahoo and Bing.
XML Sitemap Format-
To understand the XML sitemap format let’s start with a simple example
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
You can see there are different XML tags used in creating XML sitemap. Lets know what does these tags indicate.
- In XML Sitemap <urlset> & </urlset> represents the opening tag and the end tag of sitemap. All other tags are placed inside these tags.
- <url> and </url> represents the opening and end of every parent tag. The every child entry for particular parent tag should be placed between these tags.
- <loc> tag contains the url of website and the length of url can be of 2048 characters.
- <lastmod> tag represents the date when that page is modified. The date should be in the format YYYY-MM-DD. It is an optional tag, do not change the date every time when there is any modification search engine get date by itself when they crawl.
- <changefreq> tag represents how often the page changes. It can be considered as a hint, it does not mean you are giving command to search engine to crawl your website page. It completely depends upon search engine, so it’s also an optional tag. The different values you can use in this tag are:
Always value is used for dynamic pages whose value changes every time they are used. Never value is used for achieved pages
- <priority> tag represents how much a particular page of is prior to other pages of website. The priority value can be set between 0.0 to 1.0. The default priority value is 0.5. The pages above this value are crawled first than other pages with priority 0.5 or less than 0.5.
Special Characters In XML Sitemap File
There are some character escape codes that should be used in sitemap file
Ampersand & &
Single Quote ‘ '
Double Quote ” "
Greater Than > >
Less Than < <
To know more about special characters in sitemap file check out sitemap.org.
Special Tip- The size of XML sitemap should not be more than 10 MB.
ROR is a sitemap type with which you can describe more about your products, business and contact info. This type helps search engines to understand website content and business info in a better way.
To generate ROR use this ROR free sitemap generator click here.
HTML sitemap can make your website more user-friendly, you need this sitemap type if you do not have good navigation. This sitemap will help user to navigate easily on your website.
This sitemap type is used for Yahoo search engine. Webmaster can list website urls in Yahoo using Urllist. This file is uploaded to website server in .txt file format.
How To Create WordPress Sitemap?
To create WordPress sitemap the easy way is to install Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin on your website. Once your plugin is activated you can go to Xml sitemap section to activate WordPress sitemap.
To know more about WordPress Sitemap you can check out Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin Guide.
How To Create Google XML Sitemap?
To create Google XML sitemap you can use online free sitemap generator to create sitemap for any website. To create a free sitemap click here .
You can change frequency and select priority for the website pages while creating sitemap using this tool.
Once you create Google XML sitemap how Google know about it. Go to Google webmaster and submit the sitemap so that Google can crawl the website pages.