SEO

What is XML sitemap for a website, role in SEO 2021

The sitemap, as the name suggests, is the mapping of a website. That contains the whole structure of the website, provides information to the search engine about the available content on the website. In this article, we’ll understand what the XML sitemap is and how they are essential for the SEO of the website.

The sitemap is of two types:

  • HTML sitemap that users like you and me can understand.
  • XML sitemap that search engine bots can understand.

What is XML Sitemap?

The XML sitemap file is located in the root directory of the website. It contains a list of all content published on the website. Hence it is helpful for search engines like Google to find all the content available on the website.

Every website should contain a sitemap with it. If your website is not interlinked properly, the sitemap helps search engines find all the content available on the website, even the orphan content.

XML sitemap
XML sitemap

Google support several formats for sitemap, but an XML format is mostly used for it. You can provide up to 50,000 URLs and 50MB in a single sitemap(both limits shouldn’t be cross). If you have a larger website, you can create multiple sitemaps.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
    <sitemap>
      <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap1.xml.gz</loc>
    </sitemap>
    <sitemap>
      <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap2.xml.gz</loc>
    </sitemap>
  </sitemapindex>

If you want to understand the syntax in detail, you can refer to this page. Once you create a sitemap for your website, you can submit XML to Google Search Console to index your website for search results.

Extension of sitemap for additional media type

Google support Video, Image and News sitemap, and Bing Search Engine support Video sitemaps.

You can add a sitemap for additional media types, but the search engine can find the attached media in the content. So it is not necessary to add the attached media. Google is smart enough to analyze this for you.

Example for WordPress Sitemap:

XML sitemap Example
Techaak’s XML Sitemap Example.

How to generate an XML sitemap file for WordPress?

WordPress is the most popular content management system for blogging, e-commerce, and other web applications. WordPress version 5.5 update release a basic sitemap with it.

You can also use Jetpack, Yoast SEO Plugin, Rank Math, and All in One SEO plugins to generate the sitemap. Check our content, how to configure Yoast SEO, Rank Math SEO plugin, and generate sitemaps for your website.

How to generate a sitemap XML file for Blogger? 

There are a lot of tools available on the internet to generate the sitemap for the Blogger blog. But these tools can’t generate complete sitemaps for blog posts and pages.

The Blogger already has a sitemap for all its blogs into their root directory. You can access that by adding sitemap.xml and sitemap-pages.xml at the end of the URL. For this, you can read our article on how to generate the XML sitemap for the Blogger blog.

What to include in the sitemap?

In the above plugin, if your website is a blogging website, you can include Post and Pages sitemap in the main sitemap. And all other pages like category, label, testimony, etc., should be noindex for the best result.

By marking noindex to categories, tags, etc., the website will not be linked to the other article of the website itself. To avoid this issue, please consider interlinking the website with each post.

How does a sitemap work?

If there is no sitemap for a website, then the content not internally linked with the other content available on the website gets orphaned. And the search engine can’t access this content. As a result, the content will not rank in the search, doesn’t matter how unique or informative it is. But with the help of sitemap, this article will always in the list of search engines.

When you add a new post or page to your website, this will automatically add to the sitemap XML file. And submitted XML file ping to google search engine and make your new entry index.

The sitemap file contains URLs of all the posts and pages of the blog or website with their update or publishes time. That ping the search engine to index new pages/posts or updated articles.

Reference of XML Sitemap

You can submit the website sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing webmaster tool. Along with this, you can also refer to it in the site’s robots.txt file. Below is an example of our website’s robots.txt file.

User-agent: *
Disallow: /wp-admin/ 
Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php 
Allow: / 
Sitemap: https://seoneurons.com/sitemap_index.xml

You can add more than one sitemap in the robots.txt file. That will help various search engines to locate the sitemap on your website.

I hope you liked our article. In case of any doubt, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar working in the Search Engine Optimization field since 2015. And worked on many successful projects since then. He shares the real-life experience of best SEO practices with his followers on seoneurons.com. You also can learn Advance level SEO for WordPress, Blogger, or any other blogging platform. Stay tuned.

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