The ultimate aim of any website is to attract audience and increase its web traffic. However, with the growing number of websites focusing on a wide range of subjects, maintaining a top rank on Google becomes difficult for many websites. As internet is a continuously evolving place, brands cannot solely depend on SEO to boost the visibility of their websites. Industry experts claim that to get unmatched results, SEO needs to be combined with other methods. One such method to further improve the website rankings is to use an XML sitemap along with SEO optimisation. In simple terms, XML sitemap acts as a road map which tells search engines the availability of every content and suggests the path to reach it. This article gives a detailed explanation about XML sitemaps and why it matters for SEO.
What are XML sitemaps?
XML sitemaps play an important role in providing an easy-to-read summary of any website. As these sitemaps are structured in a way to be easily read by bots instead of people, they work seamlessly with different search engines. Thus, making it easy for search engines like Google to understand the structure of any website regardless of its size while crawling it.
In other words, to make every page of a website visible, it is important that search engines crawl them. However, at times no internal links are pointing at particular pages, which makes them difficult to be found by any search engine. Here, XML sitemap comes into action as it lists all the important pages of a website while ensuring that search engines easily find and crawl these pages.
Who can benefit from XML sitemaps?
As XML sitemaps can increase the efficiency of any website, it can be used by different websites which consist any of the following elements:
- A new blog or a new website.
- A website with a complicated structure.
- Websites with numerous internal links or with very few external links.
- Websites having archived or consistent content.
- E-commerce websites consisting of dynamic pages.
What are the benefits of having an XML sitemap for SEO?
Apart from XML sitemaps assisting in a good flow of data to search engines, it improves the efficiency of SEO in the following ways:
- XML sitemaps can list all the URLs of a website. This also includes the pages that have a probability of being missed by search engines.
- It gives top priority to every page and makes sure the search engine crawls each page. Users can even tag the most important pages on their XML sitemap. This allows bots to first focus on the priority pages.
- When created strategically with appropriate use of no-index and no-follow protocols, XML sitemaps can work wonders to increase the ranking of any website or its particular page.
- Additionally, as XML sitemaps give temporal information to search engines, making use of optional tags will pass additional data to search engines. This will further help search engines to crawl your websites. The most commonly used tags are, ‘lastmod’ which informs the search engine about the last changes made in the webpage and ‘changefreq’ which suggests the frequency at which a page is likely to be changed. This makes it easier for search engines to index a page and crawl it and ultimately boost its visibility on the search engine.