What Is An XML Sitemap: When I started my first blog, I spent hours, sometimes days, to research and write posts. I was really happy with the quality of my posts. But there was one problem. None of my articles were appearing on the Google search results.
This happened because Google didn’t know that there’s a site named blgxpria.com.
When you create a blog or website, you need to inform Google about it so that Google can crawl and index your website and its content. This is where XML Sitemap is important. But I had no idea about it then. In this article, I will give you a basic understanding of what is an XML Sitemap. Read on to find out.
What Is An XML Sitemap?
XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. An XML sitemap, as the name suggests, is a map of your site. It is a file that contains the list of all the posts in your site, information about the different types of content in your website, like posts, images, videos and other files, and how they are related.
Why Is An XML Sitemap Important For Your Blog?
An XML Sitemap makes it easier for Googlebots to go deeper into your website, i. e. crawl your website more intelligently. It tells the crawler things like:
- Which files are more important in your site according to you,
- When was a post last updated,
- How frequently is it changed,
- What is the length of a video,
- Which category of video is it,
- What does an image convey,
- What type of image is it, etc.
Having all these information about your website in a file makes it easier for search engines to access your site.
For example, there might be pages in your website which cannot be accessed from the menu. Sitemaps help search engines to crawl these pages as well.
Having said that, sitemaps do not guarantee the indexing and hence, inclusion of web pages in search engines. Multiple factors play role here. But sitemaps do indeed increase the accessibility and visibility of your website.
Do You Need A Sitemap For Your Website?
If you want Google to discover and index your website properly, you definitely need an XML Sitemap. However, if your website is linked properly and have sufficient backlinks, Googlebot will anyway discover it. Having an XML Sitemap will just improve accessibility of your site as Googlebot will have more information about your site.
Google suggests having a sitemap, especially, if one of the following criteria is met:
1. Your Website Is New And Do Not Have Backlinks
As explained in the article on crawling and indexing, Googlebot crawls from one web page to another through links. It is in this process that they discover new pages in the web, when other indexed pages have links to those new pages. But if your website doesn’t have backlinks, Google won’t be able to discover it. For this reason, creating an XML Sitemap is important.
2. Your Site Is Very Large
The crawler may overlook some of your recently updated pages and new content if your site is very large. Having XML Sitemaps will reduce this chance.
3. The Pages In Your Site Are Not Linked Properly
As mentioned above, crawlers move from one page to another through links. So, if your pages are not linked properly, Google may not even know the existence of certain pages and hence, they won’t be indexed. But having a sitemap will help Google discover even these pages.
4. If your site has huge media content.
So, you can see, old or new, having a XML Sitemap of your website is very important.
There are many online sitemap generator tools that you can use to generate sitemap for your website. However, it also depends on the platform you are using for your website.
Blogsperia is a WordPress blog. I have used Yoast SEO plugin to generate the sitemap for my website.
I hope this article gives you a basic understanding of what is an XML Sitemap. If you have any question pertaining to what is an XML Sitemap, drop them below and I will answer at the earliest.