What is an XML Sitemap and Why Should You Have One? | Spectrum Net
What is an XML Sitemap

What is an XML Sitemap and Why Should You Have One?

Getting to Know the Reasons & Benefits Behind an XML Sitemap

XML Sitemaps are something that have rapidly gained the attention of marketers over the last few years, you have probably heard of them. Especially if you have your own website, it’s likely that you have been advised to implement an XML Sitemap into your website’s structure, but why? And what even is it? We want to answer all these questions and more in today’s blog – we understand that the technical side of your website can be overwhelming, there are so many components and things that work together, it can be hard to keep track of them all. So, let’s begin by talking about simply what an XML Sitemap is. An XML Sitemap is simply an outline to your websites most important pages to assist search engines such as Google in order to crawl your website and allows them to find important pages of your website even if your internal linking structure isn’t perfection.

What is an XML Sitemap

Like we stated above, an XML Sitemap acts as an outline, and somewhat of a guide through your websites important pages. This helps search engines like Google navigate through your website easily and quickly without having to have your internal linking in perfect shape. For example, many websites and companies use landing pages as a marketing technique – and it’s a great one at that. You create a page that is specific to a product or service so that you can target a more detailed audience, the audience that would be the most interested in said product or service. The catch with landing pages is that generally speaking they are not linked to your main menu and sometimes they aren’t even linked anywhere so that they cannot be found by just any John Doe that happens across your site. This allows you to really measure your landing page’s effectiveness – long story short, that is an important page to be crawled and indexed by search engines, but if it isn’t linked within your website or maybe buried deeply, how will Google find it easily? The answer, your XML Sitemap of course!

Is a Sitemap Required?

Technically speaking, having an xml sitemap is not required for any website, a website will not look or function any differently with or without an xml sitemap. With that being said though, why wouldn’t you want a sitemap? If having one will help Google and other search engines crawl and index your site more easily, then why not? In the past it has been said that only large websites with loads of content need an XML sitemap, but we believe that it is beneficial for a website of any size to have one – but it has been proven that having an XML sitemap is extremely crucial for websites that have a large and deep site structure, that use lots of landing pages that would be considered orphan pages, and websites that have poor or no internal linking.

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What Content Should Be Included in My XML Sitemap & How Does Google Find It?

This is a great question, XML sitemaps support a variety of content including photos, video, posts & pages. Generally speaking, all media, posts and pages should be included in your sitemap to help Google keep up with any content that is continually being added. Yoast SEO is a great plugin that you can use if you have a WordPress Website. Yoast, among having many other valuable simple SEO abilities will automatically generate your XML sitemap so you can easily submit it to Google. There are also setting adjustments within Yoast’s XML Sitemap to control what information is included in your sitemap so that you can customize your sitemap to be exactly how you want it to be. In order to have Google find and use your sitemap, you will have to utilize your Google Search Console account. Within your account, on the left-hand side underneath “Index” you’ll see the sitemap option. Once you click into the Sitemap option, you’ll have the option to submit a new sitemap which is where you’ll enter in the URL for your XML sitemap. Once you submit it, Google will begin to utilize your XML sitemap as it crawls and indexes your site – it’s truly that easy!

We know that the technical side of SEO can be a little overwhelming with all of the various factors to think about not even to mention how they all work together – but sitemaps really can be simple. We hope that this information helps you understand the importance of having an XML sitemap and the various benefits that it can hold for your website and SEO efforts. If you have any questions, or need more information about how to create an XML sitemap in WordPress for your website, feel free to reach out to us today! Our marketing professionals would be happy to talk to you and help in any way that they can.

We know that Search Engine Optimization can be intimidating…but we are here to help! When it comes time to assess your website’s rankings, set up a consultation, we would be happy to walk you through what improvements can be made for your website!

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