An XML sitemap is essentially a road map of your website. It shows all the pages on your website and helps users and bots find them easily. Sitemaps are beneficial to SEO and help Google find pages of your site quickly and easily. Google should be crawling every page that you have on your site. Here are some facts about sitemaps and why you should have one for your site!
Which Sites Need Sitemaps?
Google claims that large websites benefit the most from having an XML sitemap, but every site should have one in reality. Your website deserves to have Google be able to crawl and index every page so that users are finding your website.
Which Pages Should Be Shown in The Sitemap?
You should be deciding on which pages to use based on the relevance of a URL. Decide which pages you think visitors should be landing on. If you don’t want a certain URL to be landed on, you should keep it off your sitemap. Pages such as “Thank You” can be no-indexed, no-followed, so they do not show up on the SERPs.
Pages You Should Include in Your XML Sitemap
Here are some pages that will benefit from being on your sitemap:
You will want your blog posts on the sitemap so that users can read your posts and find them when they search for the relevant topic. If your blogs are thin content, no-index, no-follow them until you can add more content to them. They are invaluable to users if there is not enough to read. Once your blogs are all up to best practice, make sure they are indexed.
Service Area Pages
Service area pages allow users to search for your service in a specific town you service to find your site. Having these pages indexed will allow these users searching to be able to get to your site. Visitors can see what services you have available and products as well.
Images and other media are already included in the regular XML sitemaps, so having a separate one is unnecessary. This is because most of the photos and media are already on a post or page.
How to Index Your Sitemap
To index your sitemap, add it to Google Search Console. You will go into the menu that says “sitemaps” and see if there is already one in there. If not, you can add one at the top of the page.