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July 13, 2021

Why an XML sitemap is important and how it can boost your SEO

What Is an XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap consists of a list of URLs from your website, including pages, posts, portfolio items, and media. A sitemap acts as a map for search engines, pointing to your content and pages so that they can be crawled. As well as finding your website URLs, it helps search engines understand your website structure. You want Search engines like Google to crawl all your pages and media files.

The Google limitations for an XML sitemap is 50,000 URLs or a file size of 10MB uncompressed. If your website is larger than that, you will need to have separate sitemaps. Yoast has lower sitemap limits at 1,000 URLs.

An XML sitemap makes the indexing faster and is important crucial for all websites. Sitemaps should be used for every website regardless if you have thousands of pages or a one-page website. If you are adding new blogs or pages, your sitemap will make sure Google can see you have made changes.

 

Why are XML sitemaps important for SEO?

White XML sitemaps are not regarded as a factor impacting your SEO, they ensure your website content is discovered and ranked within search engines. Google and other search engines use the data from your sitemap.

Popular SEO plugins on WordPress such as Yoast and Rank Math automatically generate an XML sitemap. Both Yoast and Rank Math show an “index” list in their sitemap such as post-sitemap.xml, page-sitemap.xml, category-sitemap.xml etc. These categories set a clear understanding of your suite structure for search engines.

At the end of each URL line, you will find a date that shows the last time your post/page was updated or modified. This date also alerts Google of your changes and can trigger a new crawl to take place.

In short, sitemaps make it possible for search engines to view your pages/posts quicker, thus allowing you to boost your SEO rankings. The quicker your page is indexed, the quicker it can be found by users in search. You can also boost your SEO efforts by making sure you update your pages to prompt search engines to crawl your updated pages.

How do I submit a sitemap to Google?

If you have not already made your account through Google’s search console (https://search.google.com/search-console/welcome), I strongly suggest creating it now. Once you verify your domain, now you can start the process of submitting your sitemap to Google.

Select your property (website) on the search console homepage.

  1. Click on the “Sitemaps” menu item.
  2. Type in your URL for your XML sitemap.
  3. Lastly, click on submit.

I would highly recommend creating a Google search console account and submit your site map. This ensures that Google knows your website exists and index your website faster.

How do I submit a sitemap to Bing?

Although Bing is not as popular as Google, it is still highly recommended to submit your website through Bing Webmaster Tools( https://www.bing.com/webmasters/sitemaps). If you have not created an account using Google Search Console, follow the steps to add your website there first. Bing WebMaster tools allow you to create a new account through a Microsoft Account, Google, and Facebook account. If you choose to add it through Google, you will have the option to import all your data directly from Google Search Console.

Add Sitemap using Google import:

Log into Bing Webmaster Tools:

  1. Click the “import” button.
  2. Log into your Google Search Console Account
  3. Click the website you want to add to Bing.
  4. Lastly, click on submit.

Add Sitemap manually:

Log into Bing Webmaster Tools:

  1. Add your website URL to the “Add your site manually” section.
  2. Click Add
  3. Verify your site using a verification method.
  4. Add your sitemap URL to the sitemap field.

Conclusion

In conclusion, XML sitemaps are lists of URLs from your website. XML sitemaps play a crucial role in indexing and allowing new/updated content to prompt new crawls from search engines.

 

Dorin Blaga Upward Consulting