A sitemap can be very useful to improve the search and positioning of your website – read on to find out more!
SEO. You$0027ve probably already come across this acronym when searching for ways to market on the Internet, haven$0027t you?
Basically, Searching Engine Optimization consists of a series of techniques to conquer good positions in the results of search mechanisms. Mainly Google, which is responsible for a large part of Internet traffic.
Keywords, link building, scannability, load time, responsive design. All these are very important ranking factors to conquer the long dreamed top in the results page.
However, there is another very important element that is often neglected by administrators: the sitemap.
You don$0027t know what this is about? Then you$0027re in the right place. In this article, you will learn what it is and why you should create yours right now. Continue reading and learn all about this important resource!
But first, what is the sitemap?
You$0027ve probably already used hierarchical organograms when writing a text in Word, haven$0027t you? So, a Sitemap works more or less like this, but instead of drawings, other forms of addressing are used.
Like the name says, it a map of your website. It contains the information that indicates the correct path to be followed by the crawler.
A crawler is a robot that crawls the Internet locating relevant pages for each search. In this case, the GoogleBot.
Think of the following situation: a miner needs to explore a gold mine he has never been to before. However, before that, he will have to dig and find out every single corner and, in the end, find what he is looking for. But if someone gives him a map, everything will be easier, won$0027t it?
That exactly the function of the Sitemap: to help the Google robot work. This will make the indexing processes faster and more efficient. Both the crawl and page load times will become more agile.
This information is stored in the server where the website is hosted and reveals the entire structure, like an index, optimizing the efficiency of the search engine. Google thanks you and you can get faster and more accurate results.
A Sitemap contains the main URLs of a website, that is, those that will be read in priority order. Information on hierarchy, link architecture and updates are also contained.
They can be conversion pages, blog posts or tabs. In short, it is necessary to privilege those that you consider really important for your business.
But, in the end, what are the benefits?
In SEO, one of the main techniques is link building. That is, references in other pages that redirect the user to your website.
When a page does not receive many inbound links, it can go unnoticed by the bot. Therefore, it is necessary to indicate it to Google that, in this way, it will have greater facility in recognizing it and positioning it in the search results.
In addition, the use of dates indicates the updating of contents. Thus, they will be reread by the crawler. This technique of restructuring and extension of content is widely used to try to improve the ranking of the pages.
Google also gives priority to site administrators who help the bot read, and this is a recommended and rewarded practice by the search engine.
In what situations should a Sitemap be used?
The creation of a sitemap is recommended for any blog or website, as it facilitates the indexing process and reveals a concern on the part of the webmaster. Google is basically a business partner, so you also need to help it so that there is reciprocity.
However, there are some specific situations where the Sitemap is critical. Find out what some of them are:
Sites with dynamic content
When the content of a site receives several updates or new publications on a regular basis, a Sitemap is essential. Examples include large news portals, corporate blogs with a focus on SEO, and online stores, which are left to stock their product pages.
Sites with difficulty in positioning
Some pages have difficulty in achieving good positioning. This can occur due to a number of factors, such as content in Ajax, Flash or Wix languages.
Websites that were recently created do not yet have a high domain authority. Because of this, Google may take longer to crawl internal pages. In this case, a Sitemap can speed up this process.
Sites without link building
When there are not many inbound links for a website, the crawler may consider it irrelevant. Therefore, to increase the chances of appearing on Google, it is recommended to use a Sitemap.
What are the formats of a Sitemap?
When you go to a shopping mall, there is usually a map indicating the location of each of the stores and their respective floors. This is similar to a sitemap, but the Google robot cannot read the information in a graphical format.
That why there are different models. Find out what they are below:
The most used format on the web is XLM. It consists of a list of URLs formatted in a coded language, directed especially to SEO optimization. It can be created manually or with the help of specific tools. It also adds images and videos.
The TXT format is simpler, but it is neglectful of some important information, such as the date the URL was changed and the organization of the pages. It is basically a text that can be composed in a simple editor, such as Word or Notepad.
Atom-RSS is widely used in blogs. In it, the news section itself functions as a sitemap, but takes into consideration the date of publication as a priority factor. They work in a similar way to a content aggregator in which the user can register.
A site created through Google Sites will have an automatically created Sitemap, however, it is necessary to send it in order to have information about the reports.
What are the types of sitemap?
As the internet is an atmosphere that offers many opportunities, there are many different types of businesses. Therefore, many times websites will need different types of sitemaps, making the map even more specific.
Have you noticed that in the search engine itself there are “Images”, “Videos” and “News” tabs under the search box? This optimization is done through specific Sitemaps, which can be embedded in the same file or in separate files.
Discover, as follows, what are some characteristics of each type of sitemap:
Many websites focus on the visual aspect. This is the case of image banks, portfolios of photographers and illustrators and even some e-commerce.
An image sitemap has the same function, but the cited URLs will be directed to the photos. This resource is very important for businesses that want to appear at the top of Google Images.
The videos are up in the digital atmosphere. Thanks to that, it is very important to position them well in the search mechanisms.
Many times Googlebot ends up being negligent with this content format, so making a sitemap is a good idea. It should contain information such as description, time duration and the thumbnail.
Another type of sitemap is the news one. If you invest in this type of media, you will certainly need a Sitemap of this type, as it takes into consideration the news section of the blog.
In addition to the Sitemap, it will be necessary to follow some steps and request the inclusion of the article through the Google News central.
How to create a sitemap?
Sitemaps can be created manually, but some formats require some depth of study, such as XML markup.
There are several platforms that help the process. If your website was created in WordPress, there are some plugins that can perform this task simply and quickly, such as Better WordPress Google XLM Sitemaps or Yoast SEO itself, already used by many webmasters.
Another option is the GSiteCrawler software, a crawler simulator that analyzes the website and automatically creates the Sitemap.
Finally, there are online tools such as XLM-Sitemaps (free for sites with up to 500 pages) and the Sitemap Generator browser extension.
How to submit a sitemap.xml to Google?
After you create your Sitemap, you must report it to Google and make it searchable. There are two ways to do this:
Google Search Console: Just access the “Tracking” tab, click on “Sitemap” and “Add/Track Sitemap” on the red button in the top right corner.
Robots.txt: just insert the following line in the text file where the sitemap was created, specifying the path:
Are there any extra recommendations to improve the results?
To improve the performance of your website, some practices related to the Sitemap are recommended. Discover some of them below:
- Create several Sitemaps for the different categories of the site.
- Even if the limit is 50,000 URLs, try to keep that number under 10,000.
- It uses canonical URLs, for example, www.tusitioweb.com . Avoid changes in the transfer protocol (https).
- Visit Google Search Console regularly to identify potential errors.
So, did you like this article? Find out also what the main penalties are for Google and learn how to prevent your website from losing positions in the search rankings!