XML sitemap – An XML site is a file where you can list all the important web pages in your site and submit to the search engines. The search engine crawlers like Googlebot consider those pages significant and crawl the site more intelligently.
A site map provides the metadata of a page to the search engines. The metadata includes the details like:
- When the page was last updated
- How often the page is changed
- Importance of the particular page when compared to other URLs in the site
You can also provide the metadata for definite types of content on your page like videos and images. Video entry includes video running time and category, and age appropriateness rating. Image entry includes image subject matter, type and licence.
Why do you need a sitemap?
A sitemap can improve the crawling of a site even if your site is properly constructed. With a XML sitemap, you can tell Google the important pages of your site that you would want to get indexed as well the important contents of the page. It also gives information regarding when a page was last updated and how often it gets changed.
A sitemap is really essential if:
- If your site is huge and you want Googlebot and other crawlers to regard crawling some of your important or recently updated contents.
- If your site has many content-rich pages and they are not liked by each other. In this case, you can create a sitemap containing the list of all pages and submit it to the search engines.
- If your site is brand new and there are no external links pointing to the main pages. In this case, you can submit a file to the search engines asking to consider crawling those pages.
It is very important to ensure that all the pages that you consider valuable are indexed by the search engines to improve your website’s viability.