You may ask - what are XML sitemaps? Simply put, it is a specific file that lives “behind the scenes” of your website. This file contains a list of important web pages that help make it easy for Google to find and crawl them. Ensuring your pages are visible by search engines is an important factor to take into consideration with your website’s SEO.
What does an XML sitemap look like?XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language”, which is another coding language similar to HTML. Below you will see an example of a very simple XML sitemap courtesy of Google Search Central’s build sitemap page.
What pages should be included in your XML sitemap?Simply put, any web page you want users to find in search results should be included in your XML sitemap. Start with your most relevant pages and work down the chain. It’s worth mentioning if you don’t search engines to crawl a specific page, leaving it out of the sitemap isn’t enough. You need to include a “no index” tag on any page you wish to keep from being indexed.
How to add an XML sitemap to your websiteDoes the above code look a bit intimidating? Fear not! There are many ways to generate a sitemap without writing a single line of code.
WordPress Plugins: There are many plugins that serve the purpose of generating an XML sitemap for you. One of the most popular is the Yoast SEO plugin. Sitemap generation is just one of many useful tools for optimizing your website for SEO.
Sitemap Generators: If you search online there are tools built to specifically crawl and automatically generate a sitemap for you. This is useful if you are wanting to go with a DIY approach and your site wasn’t build with a CMS tool. The only downside to this method is if you want to be precise on page priority and defining the last modified date, you will need to manually edit the file.
From Scratch: Depending on the size of your site, you may just want to code it by hand. Usually ideal for smaller sites that want to define a specific priority. The larger the site, and those with frequent updates, the more time-consuming this becomes. If you hired a Web Developer to build your website they should be able to take care of this for you.
Have It Done Automatically: You may say, "yah sign me up for this method" and we would be happy to! We have our own CMS system developed in-house and exclusively for our Dreamersi web hosting customers called WebdeXpress. With WebdeXpress, when you publish your site, the sitemap is automatically generated/updated for you, it’s not even something you have to think about.
If you have additional questions or want some help with your website’s SEO, please contact us online or by phone at 1-800-232-3989! We would love to talk with you about your website needs!
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