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Best ever practices to optimize XML sitemaps – Tips for the novices

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In order to optimize your website, it is vital for you to create a sitemap. Sitemaps not only offer the search engines with a blueprint of the way in which the site is laid out but it also includes different metadata like the way in which each page is updated, when they were previously changed and how vital the pages are in accordance with each other. If you don’t know the importance of sitemaps, you should be aware that sitemaps are particularly vital for the websites which include too much of archived content which isn’t linked with each other, which have lack of external links and which have thousands of pages.

As the name suggests, these files offer bots with a specific map for your website which lets them index and discover the pages which are most important. This post will discuss about the few best practices that you can do in order to optimize and create your sitemap for both the visitors and search engines. Check out few practices.

Practice #1: Use plugins and tools to generate an automated sitemap

When you have the right tools, it is easy to generate a sitemap. For example, if you have an auditing software which has got an in-built XML sitemap generator, then you create one with ease. WordPress websites are already utilizing Yoast SEO can let XML sitemaps to directly use the plugin. On the other hand, you can even create a manual sitemap by following the code structure of XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you require generating an entire XML sitemap in case you wish to use the tool to complete the work on your behalf.

Practice #2: The sitemap has to be submitted to Google

It is from your Google Search Console that you can submit your sitemap to Google. You have to click on Crawl, then on Sitemaps and then on Add Test Sitemap. Make sure you check the results before you click on Submit Sitemap so that you can check the errors which can be an obstacle to the main landing pages that can be indexed. In an ideal situation, you would want the same number of pages to be indexed as is the number of pages that are to be submitted.

Practice #3: Prioritize the pages which are of high quality

As long as ranking is concerned, the overall quality of the site is one of the pivotal factors. In case the sitemap directs the bots to the pages which are of low quality, the search engines will think that your website is probably one which is not what the visitors will wish to visit. Even though the pages might be important for your site but still they won’t be considered important. Hence you should try your best to direct the bots to the most vital pages of the site.

Practice #4: Include the canonical URL versions only in the sitemap

When your website has got several pages which are similar to each other like the product pages for a product which is available in different colors, you have to use a specific tag to inform Google which is the main page on which they should index and crawl. Bots usually have a simpler time in discovering the main pages in case you don’t include canonical URLs but it is still better to use one.

Therefore, now that you are aware of the different practices which can help you optimize your sitemap and secure a higher rank in search engines, what are you waiting for? Make sure you follow them for the best results.


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