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What is XML Sitemap - SEO Terms

Last updated: May 10, 2022

Definition

XML Sitemap is a file that provides search engines with detailed information on all pages of the owners' website to search engines, which the information can be accessed by all internet users. Search engines use a sitemap to index and understand the owner's website, and users can find the web page they are looking for quickly.

After a website page is indexed, search engines use the information on the web page to rank websites on search engines. The XML sitemap also contains metadata that can provide users with specific information, and when it was last updated.

Advantages of Using XML Sitemap

Having an XML sitemap on a website gives several advantages for the growth of the website. Some of the advantages that users will get are:

  1. All pages on the website can be found by search engines.
  2. Give priority to the most important website page to increase the rank on search engines.
  3. Assist search engines to understand the structure of a website page that is used for indexing on search engines.
  4. Get the trust of the website and google's visitors.
  5. Make it easier to find the owned website.
  6. Increase the business.

How to Make XML Sitemap

In creating an XML sitemap, users can use the Yoast plugin (for WordPress users). This plugin has the advantage to organize content, help in setting keyword density, and also create an XML sitemap

Here's how to create an XML Sitemap:

  1. Login to WordPress
  2. Install and activate the Yoast SEO Plugin

This plugin can be found on menu plugin > add new plugin > then type Yoast SEO on search > install

  1. After it is installed, activate all advance setting pages on menu SEO > Features

After it is activated, Yoast SEO will automatically activate the XML Sitemap, and is ready to operate:

After creating XML Sitemap, we will submit the sitemap that we have created to search engines, in the following ways:

  1. Open Google Search Console and choose the created website
  2. Click Crawl > Sitemaps
  3. Click Add/Test Sitemap
  4. Add the URL of the created WordPress sitemap and click Submit

The Use of XML Sitemap

In fact, having an XML sitemap can increase the rank of your website if it is managed properly. Other than that, the XML sitemap is also very useful when:

  • The website has a complicated structure or internal link
  • The website is new and having few external links
  • The sites are consistent, and have archived contents
  • The website is dynamic website, like e-commerce website

Types of Sitemaps

XML Sitemap Index

XML Sitemap has some limitations:

  • Maximum of 50.000 URLs
  • Compressed file size limit of 50MB

Sitemap can be compressed to save server bandwidth. In order not to exceed the limit, the users can split the URL into multiple XML sitemaps. Then, the sitemap will be combined into one index file in which it will later become the index of the owned web page, usually it will be in the form of file named sitemap-index.xml.

XML Sitemap Image

XML sitemaps are designed to improve the content indexation in images. However, an XML Image sitemap is not necessary for most websites, but it is needed when users have a website that provides a stock of photos or e-commerce.

XML Sitemap Video

Basically, this sitemap is the same as an XML Image sitemap, when a website has no content which contains video elements that can break its business, this type of sitemaps does not need to be used.

HTML Sitemap

HTML Sitemap is almost similar to XML Sitemap. If the XML Sitemap focuses on search engines, the HTML Sitemap focuses more on users finding content. Generally, the HTML sitemap can be found in the footer of a web page

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