In a previous blog post, we went over the basics of content optimization – what…
What is a XML Sitemap? Well, imagine you’re lost in the city. Turning down dark alley ways, making wrong turns, and now nothing looks familiar.
Did you just see a kangaroo? No couldn’t be, you’re in the city. Or are you? Now, you’re confused and questioning your location. You continue to think, “If only I had the directions to where I was trying to go, initially. If only someone had created an app for that.” On your website, your XML sitemap is the website map that Google’s bots consider the “app for that.”
But what is a XML sitemap, you ask? Your XML sitemap plays several roles, one of those roles being the directional map used by Google’s spiders and other search engine bots to travel through your site.
No one likes to feel like they are lost, in the real world, in the city, or in the internet world. This is why we like to be spoon fed directions from Google Maps, Waze, or what have you. The same can be said for the bots that crawl the internet. They don’t want to find a site and not understand how to navigate through it.
What is a XML Sitemap Going to Do for Google’s Bots?
Think of a map of the city as your website’s XML sitemap, with each building representing a page on your site. Your map shows you what routes to take to get to which buildings. Similarly, the XML sitemap is a website map that spoon feeds Google’s bots directions so that they can travel through your site and move efficiently from page to page. Your XML sitemap though, is strictly going to include pages that you want bots to visit. For example, when you travel through the city, there are buildings on this street that you do not want to enter, therefore you don’t get directions to them. Similarly, there are pages that you do not want bots to enter or crawl, like your admin page, so you will not include them on your XML sitemap.
What is an XML Sitemap Going to Do for Me?
One great advantage of having an XML Sitemap, is that it is good for your SEO, or search engine optimization, because it allows for easy indexing of your site. When Google’s bots crawl your XML sitemap, they read through the content and the code, understand what your page is related to and place it within Google’s library of websites. From this library, Google decides what pages to serve in the search results depending on the sites relevancy to the search query. This is what deems your XML sitemap so necessary. Ultimately, without it being indexed by these bots, your pages may never get found by Google thus never get served in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
What is a XML Sitemap Going to Do for Me? Better Yet, What Can You Do for Your XML Sitemap?
Equally as important as including the XML sitemap on your webpage, is to remember not to include pages in your XML sitemap that you do not want bots to crawl or index. These pages we tag with “noindex” tags and again, are NOT included in the XML sitemap. The entire point of having the XML sitemap is to make it easy on the bots and let them know what pages are important. If we add pages that we have placed “noindexed” tags on, we are wasting their time and slowing progress.
Now that we’ve covered the question of “What is a XML Sitemap?” and you know the importance of XML sitemaps, do your site and the bots a favor by implementing one onto your site. Eliminate the confusion of getting lost in your website, get your site indexed, and allow yourself a better opportunity to be served in the search results. There are plenty of XML sitemap generators out there to help you to create your website map to help keep bots on the right path and direct them around the website where they are meant to crawl and index.
To find out more about what is a XML Sitemap going to do for your site, contact our experts at SocialSEO. Let us help take your business to the next level in the search engines, Social Media and PPC.