Marketing

What Is an XML Sitemap?

What Is an XML Sitemap?
Written by Jolissa Skow

What is an XML sitemap? An XML sitemap is a map of your website’s pages and posts, written in a code called “XML” that search engine crawlers understand and can read easily.

An XML sitemap is just what it sounds like: a map of your website. However, it’s not for regular, human visitors to your site. Instead, it’s for search engines. It shows a search engine how to access all of the pages on your website, so you can make sure all of your pages are indexed and can be found via search.

While all of your pages should be linked to internally via your main navigation, footer or side navigation, archive pages, or other linking areas, it’s not uncommon for Google to have a hard time “seeing” a page here and there. When you provide their crawler with a foolproof map to your site, though, it’s much less of a possibility for that to happen.

While all of your pages should be linked to internally via your main navigation, footer or side navigation, archive pages, or other linking areas, it's not uncommon for Google to have a hard time seeing a page here and there. #technicalSEO #xmlsitemap Click To Tweet

Google’s official guidance on XML sitemaps states:

“If your site’s pages are properly linked, Google can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap can improve the crawling of larger or more complex sites, or more specialized files.”

In a nutshell, even if you don’t have a large site, uploading a sitemap can’t hurt and should be considered as a part of your technical SEO strategy. Google includes a spot for you to provide a link to your sitemap within Search Console. Just navigate to “Sitemaps” in the sidebar.

As for creating your sitemap, there are many free tools out there that’ll scrape your site and make the map. Once you have it, ask your web developer to upload it to the site root.

What to include in an XML sitemap:

  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Products
  • Categories

About the author

Jolissa Skow

An English degree gives me writing skills, 6 years of SEO agency experience gives me digital marketing knowledge, and my content strategy experience rolls all those things together to make one pretty knowledgeable and skilled marketing writer. I'm published on UpCity, Salesforce, G2 and more. I'm also an avid reader and run a book blog in my spare time. Read my ClearVoice Portfolio.

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