What is an XML Sitemap and Why Do I Need One?

person drawing Sitemap

What is an XML Sitemap and Why Do I Need One?

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs on a website and is accessible to web crawlers. This file lists all the pages on a website, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.

A sitemap can provide valuable meta data associated with the web pages. Metadata provides information about a webpage, such as when the site was last updated, how often the website is changed/updated, and the importance of the page relative to other pages in the site. A priority tag listed within an XML sitemap provides web crawlers with insight as to which pages have a higher level of importance. This allows the search engines to order the crawling of a website based on the priority of pages. We also use a sitemap to provide search engines more information about specific types of content such as: video, image, and mobile content.

Once created, the XML sitemap aides in the crawling of your site.  When submitted to search engines, it’s more likely that crawlers will include posts and pages into search results. Generally, when search engines find a new site they crawl a limited number of pages, returning over time to index the entire site. Creating and submitting an XML sitemap will decrease the time it takes search engines to find all the pages on your website. When properly constructed, XML sitemaps will help increase your websites online presence in a shorter period of time.

Nam Le
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