A Complete Guide to XML Sitemaps 1

13 April

As the world changes, the internet evolves too! Every day is marked with a discovery, thanks to various engineers and the nature of technology. Amidst this, Google and its ranking is put under constant evolution, with an influx of new and novel ways algorithms treat online resources and rank them. Today, search result ranking factors have changed so much that you cannot simply a modern website or blog with conventional ways and schemes.

An XML sitemap is one of those factors. Even right now, if you search the word on google, you'll find a plethora of results, both valuable and misleading. You may nail every practice you find online and still suffer to get in the top ranks. That's what such saturation leads to!

If you too want to know more about XML sitemap and only want to access the right information, this blog has found you at a perfect time. Being an SEO agency, every word penned in this write-up is supported with knowledge and expertise; therefore, you can rely on it!


What is an XML Sitemap?


In case you aren't associated with the term XML Sitemap, here is our take on it. Although it may sound quite complex and technical, it isn't! Here is every detail you need to know about it.

XML Sitemap refers to the structural architect of a website. It includes a pathway from one page to another within the same site. You can view it as a web or connection, in which hierarchy determines the position of the page. For instance, a Homepage will be at the top, and it will divide into its connecting pages.

For example, if you have a skin-care products website, the homepage will include all your products’ general information, and the leading pages will concern individual products.

XML sitemaps are used mainly by large and extensive websites that entail a ton of content. Similarly, website owners who consistently add new content and pages to their site also tend towards XML sitemaps to help search engines locate different pages of their site. Besides, those who have to deal with poor internal linking also use these sitemaps to enhance their site’s performance.


Why is it Essential to Have Sitemaps?

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Sitemaps offer benefits primarily related to improving a website's performance in terms of ranking and visibility when a search engine looks for billions of online resources in the index.

Some of the benefits include:


Allow the Search Engine Bots to Look For Each Page on Your Website


XML sitemaps are greatly useful in helping various search engine bots look for different pages of a website. Offering a proper roadmap of a site allows the search engine to know exactly which pages to index and see when getting all the relevant search results.

Using these sitemaps, all search engines can effectively go through different URLs and identify pages that otherwise would have been overlooked. Thanks to sitemaps protocols, google bots have navigation to every page where they can look for relevancy with what's being searched by a user.

Moreover, since sitemaps include all the changes made on a site together with a comprehensive summary of what's being added, nothing goes out of sight. Besides, they help save the time it takes crawlers to crawl through online resources and may bring to the surface those URLs which were previously not found.


Make it Easy to Follow Pages.


There are two significant reasons for duplicate content; accidental and intentional.

User experience can either break or make for you! Sitemaps allow your website visitors to easily access various pages on your site and save valuable time. Sitemaps include all the additions, including pictures, graphics, and videos on your site and individual URLs, which makes it a breeze to instantly know what a particular website is about.

Many website owners make the mistake of not adding sitemaps and therefore suffer from low engagement metrics and diminished performance as the majority of the time a user spends on the site is wasted aimlessly navigating all the pages. However, you can avoid that by categorizing different pages and making it an instant task for your user to visit a specific page.

Moreover, if there are a lot of sitemaps, you can add them on different pages. This yields significant lead conversion and makes your site get in the top results.


Convenient For Coders to Add Sitemaps

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Since sitemaps contain a universal protocol that is standard across all search engines, it is effortless and convenient for web developers to create them. It addresses their concern of creating a different sitemap for every search engine; instead, they can rely on a single map and make it work on Google, Bing, and all.

Moreover, since sitemaps need to be updated regularly, especially if you keep adding new content and pages, it negates the struggle of doing it multiple times. Instead, you can simply make additions at one location and mimic that on others too.

If you think that sitemaps are still technical and fall out of your realm of expertise, you can contact Bthrust to construct well-optimized and fully functional sitemaps for you. With our knowledge and experience, you will see an immediate improvement in your website's performance. With our solutions relating to SEO Singapore businesses have remarked about groundbreaking success for their online platforms.


XML Sitemap Format


Creating an XML sitemap is marked by following a format that will ensure you are doing everything the right way. Some of the aspects in the format include:


Loc (a.k.a. Location) Tag


Loc tag is imperative when it comes to XML sitemap. It must contact the exact URL of the page without any room for change. It indicates the site’s protocol type and gives the choice of either adding or excluding www.

For a user with a multilingual or multi-regional site, in which he targets user bases from different regions, the Loc tag should also contain the hreflang tag to let the search engine know the area you want to target with a particular page. This comes in handy for someone with different versions of the same website content.


Lastmod (also called Last-Modified) Tag

Lastmod Tag is one of those things you just cannot afford to ignore! It includes the date and time you made your last modification on a particular page. Many IT experts have conceived its importance when a search engine is crawling through various online pages.

One thing you need to consider when using it is that you only change the modification date when you have made a significant update to your site or content. Besides, it helps the search engine know that you are the website’s original owner as all the changes made are associated with you; therefore, the chances of visibility are strengthened.


Change Frequency (Change Freq) Tag

Change frequency tag has been there for a very long time. It has often been believed that it creates a significant impact in helping the search engine find your page and offer excellent results. As the name suggests, it is relevant to the number of changes you make to your content. This can come in handy for the robots to identify if you are the genuine owner of a site.

However, it has been found that it does little to nothing in reality. If you only mention the date when you made a modification, it’s enough to assist the search engine. Therefore, the choice is yours, whether if you want to use it or not.


Priority Tag

Priority tag lets the search engine know exactly how relevant your page is to other online resources. It does that by determining a specific value to the page. It is an optional tag and the choice to use it is always yours. Many IT experts have negated any advantage associated with it!


Which Pages to Include in Your XML Sitemap?

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It’s always a good practice to see if you want your user to be redirected to another page. You can determine that by identifying the value of content on a particular page or measuring the engagement, it could bring.

However, it is always recommended to add new blogs and media to your sitemap. Your blog will benefit from it because you need online traffic, and it offers an excellent way to do precisely that. As for media and images, you can avoid it, but if you think some particular pictures can hold great significance, it’s recommended to include them in the sitemap.

What are Some of the Leading Practices to Use When Creating a Sitemap?

When it comes to internet marketing in Singapore, business environment has always tended towards sitemaps to maximize the chances of better visibility. They primarily rely on specific practices, which could be testing sitemaps multiple times, changing dates when making substantial upgrades, using exact URLs, ensuring the map is small and much more.

These are some of the practices that we can recommend using, based on our personal experience and skill in the field. And we believe these will yield excellent results for you too!

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