5 Sitemaps Your Website Needs And How You Can Create One
Basically speaking, your website’s sitemap consists of information found within each of your website pages, images, and videos. It is important to know where this information is located for the following reasons
- The sitemap allows search engines to locate content to understand the website.
- Search engines are able to crawl the web pages for indexing purposes
- Help a search engine to locate alternate pages in different languages
- Can identify available page updates
Sitemaps Your Website Needs
While a website has two distinct sitemap types, there are subtypes that also make up the sitemaps.
The Page Sitemap
Page sitemaps are the normal sitemap type that improves a page’s indexing. When a website does not focus on photos or video, the page sitemap is able to include page photos or videos.
The Video Sitemap
When the video sitemap is XML, it may be seen as the page sitemap, but will center around videos. This sitemap will only be used if videos are a critical part of the business. When you don’t need it, you can save the budget for your crawl and just have the video link added to the sitemap.
The News Sitemap
When news is your business and you post news articles regularly, then the news sitemap will be best. It is good to remember that the articles posted are not older than two days from the last publishings.
The Image Sitemap
Similar to a video sitemap, these sitemaps work best with images that are site critical. When the photo is not necessary, they can be linked on the page sitemap and can be crawled by the search engine.
The Sitemap Index
A sitemap has some limitations to be aware of. First, when you have a lot of URLs, there will be no need for indexing of pages. The sitemap should also have no more than 50,000 URLs. Because of the limitations, there may be a need for multiple sitemaps. When there are more than one sitemap, there will need to be an index file that will have the sitemaps listed. This index is what Google receives in order for your site to be indexed.
Creating the Sitemap
Now that you have an idea of what types of sitemaps exist, it is a good idea to know how to create one for your website. Below are the steps to get started.
Choose a page to have Google crawl and determine if the page version is duplicate in nature so that Google knows that a canonical page exists and can find it. Plus, txt files should not be blocking any of your URLs and there should not be any need for logins or passwords to gain access or the search engines will not be able to crawl normally. If you do, then errors in the GSC will occur.
Now that you have a page chosen, you should decide on how many sitemaps to have. Many websites will integrate category files, page files and post files. So remember, when you have thousands of URLs, you will be needing an equal amount of sitemaps to go along with them.
You should be coding each URL using XML tags so that it reflects the sitemap you are hoping for.
With the multiple sitemaps, you can now develop your sitemap index to file your links to the created sitemaps.
If you have questions or would like to speak to a website development professional, please contact us for a free consultation.