How You Can Use XML Sitemaps to Get Your Website Ranking

By | November 19, 2019

If you’re a pirate trying to find a
treasure chest, wouldn’t a map telling you exactly where the treasure is make your
life so much easier? Well that’s basically what an XML sitemap does for
search engine crawlers, and it makes it easier for them to find and index pages
on your site. In this video, I’m going to talk all about what an XML sitemap is,
how to create a sitemap, and how to submit one via Google Search Console.
Stay tuned to keep learning. So first, what’s an XML sitemap? Search engines
rely on bots called crawlers to go out into the world wide web to find pages
online. While they’re pretty fast at doing this, it can take quite a while before
they find a particular page on your website due to the sheer amount of
content available online. This is where an XML sitemap comes in handy. An XML
sitemap is a file on your website that tells search engine crawlers what you
want them to look at on your site. It looks a little something like this. In
this example from sitemaps dot org, you see a sitemap with one link. There are three
required parts of a sitemap. The first is URL set, which contains all of the
URLs in a sitemap. The next required portion is URL tag which is the
container for all the information related to individual URLs. Now we get to
the individual URL information. Inside the URL tag is the location tag which is
where you’ll put the URL you want to direct crawlers to. Other elements aren’t
required by search engines but are still very helpful. The last modification tag
tells you when a file was last modified. The change frequency tag says how often
you update your pages, and the priority tag tells crawlers which pages are more
important on your site. Here’s an example of a sitemap from food storage and trash
bag company, Glad. Here’s another example of an XML sitemap from The New Yorker.
Here you’ll see all of the typical sitemap elements I talked about earlier,
like the URL set, URL, location, and last mod tags.
How do sitemaps affect SEO? Sitemaps can have a positive effect on your
SEO. While we’re focusing on XML sitemaps right now, HTML sitemaps are a very
helpful SEO tool. You can usually find a link to the HTML sitemap in the footer
of a website. Here you see an example of an HTML sitemap. The HTML sitemap is
meant for people and crawlers and it makes it easy for crawlers to find and
index links on your site. The XML sitemap is meant for crawlers and helps them
find new pages to index. Crawling and indexing pages on your site is a big
part of how search engines figure out where your site’s going to rank. How do
you create an XML sitemap for your website? When creating an XML sitemap, you
want to include links to all the pages you want search bots to crawl. If you
don’t want a page crawled, you should not put it in your XML sitemap. However, that
won’t stop a search engine crawler from finding it. You should include the pages
you don’t want crawled in your robots.txt file. Check out our blog posts
about robots.txt after this video if you want to learn more. A great tool for
generating a sitemap for your website is XML dash sitemaps dot com. If your website is 500
pages or less, you can use this tool for free. If you use a content management
system like WordPress, there are plugins available that make and update your XML
sitemap for you. Let’s talk about how to upload your XML sitemap. How do you
submit an XML sitemap to Google Search Console? If you don’t have a Google
Search Console account linked to your website, you’re going to need to create
that first. Once you’ve done that you’ll find sitemaps
under the index heading on the left sidebar of Google Search Console. Click
sitemaps and it will take you to a page where you can add your sitemap URL. Paste
the URL into the box that says add a new site map and click submit. You have your
sitemap uploaded to Google. Google won’t immediately start crawling your site. It
can take a few days or even a few weeks for Google to crawl your site, but if
you view your sitemaps report, it will tell you how many URLs Google found from
your sitemap or if Google crawled your sitemap at all. It’s important to
maintain your sitemap by occasionally updating
what pages should or shouldn’t be there. But once you submit the sitemap to
Google Search Console, you can sit back and let Google’s crawlers do all the
work. Nothing too crazy, right? If you liked this video, check out our SEO
playlist to learn all about search engine optimization and don’t forget to
subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the WebFX blog for
informative videos on a wide range of digital marketing topics. See you later!

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