How To Use XML-Sitemaps To Boost SEOHow To Use XML-Sitemaps To Boost SEO

Just having a great site with great content is not enough. Your work will all be in vain if search engines can not crawl your site properly.

The main motive of implementing SEO is to optimize the site according to the search engines so that they can easily crawl your sites. One of the great SEO tactics is using XML sitemaps to boost your SEO.

Though search engine bots can crawl your site, using an XML sitemap helps them to crawl better.

In this article, we will be talking about sitemaps, how they can boost your SEO, and how to implement them.

Let’s dive right into the topic.

What is an XML-Sitemap?

An XML Sitemap is a map of your site that helps search engine bots to crawl and index your site.

It helps search engines to find all the content available on your site. For example, say you have a total of 7 contents on your site. If there is no XML sitemap, search engines have to go through 6 internal links to reach page 7. If the XML sitemap is present, search engines will directly cover page 7 in one XML file.

In this way, XML sitemaps help search engines to crawl deeper into the site to understand it better.

There is a total of four types of XML sitemaps:

1. Normal Sitemap: This is the commonly used sitemap, which includes all types of content present on the site.

2. Video SitemapThis sitemap is specifically for helping search engines to index all the video content present on the site.

3. News SitemapThis sitemap helps the content to get featured in Google News.

4. Image SitemapThis sitemap helps search engines to crawl all the images present on the site.

Pro Tip: You can also prevent your particular webpage from getting indexed by search engines. In this way, your most important pages will be indexed rather than unnecessary pages like an author page, tag page, etc.

How can XML-Sitemaps help to boost your SEO?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing uses XML-Sitemaps to index pages on your site.

Even though it is not mandatory to use XML Sitemaps, it is worth the effort to use XML-Sitemaps for your site.

For example, say you have recently started your blog with a new article How to get Google Certification for SEO. As your blog is new with little or no backlinks, XML-Sitemaps will surely help Google to find your page.

If you are a professional SEO Expert who runs a site having thousands of content with tons of backlinks, then it may be hard for Google to crawl your important pages. Here XML-Sitemaps will come to save.

Hence, using XML-Sitemaps can help your content to get optimized for search engines.

How to generate XML-Sitemaps and submit them to Google and Bing?

If you are using CMS like WordPress, generating XML-Sitemaps is not hard. All you need to do is download a plugin named “Yoast SEO” and activate it.

The Yoast SEO plugin not only generates a sitemap but also provides a suggestion to improve your site’s SEO. The main advantage of Yoast SEO’s sitemap is that it regularly updates the sitemap so Google will always get fresh content.

Hence, whenever a new blog or an update is made on the site, Yoast SEO automatically updates your site’s XML-Sitemaps.

In case you are not using Yoast SEO Plugin, you can try other XML-Sitemap generator plugins, which can generate you your site’s XML-Sitemap.

Even if you are not using any CMS, you can try, which can generate XML-Sitemaps.

Once you generate your sitemap, its time to submit it to search engines.

Submit sitemap to Google:

To submit sitemaps, you have to head over to Google Search Console. If you have not verified your site in Google Search Console, then do consider verifying it first.

Once you verify your site, head over to Index and then to Sitemaps.

To submit Sitemap, paste your sitemap and press Submit.

If Google successfully crawls your sitemap, it will show the Sitemap index processed successfully.

You can also check the report of your sitemap by clicking on See Index Coverage.

Submit Your Sitemap To Bing:

Similarly, like Google, you have to verify your site in Bing Webmaster Tools. Once you verify your site, then head over to Submit Sitemaps.

Paste the sitemap and click on Submit.

Bing is a bit slow in indexing sitemaps, hence at the beginning, it will show Pending. But maybe after an hour or two, it will show Success if there is no problem otherwise it will show Error.

Bonus Tip

You may not want Google to index all the content present in your site as the category, tags, author, etc. Indexing all the unnecessary content lets the most important ones to remain deindexed, and hence the most important content you want to appear in search results may not appear. Hence, it is better to exclude search engines from crawling these pages.

In some cases, people don’t care about what pages are getting indexed or what is not. But it's not good. Even bots do have a limit of indexing pages, and hence when your unnecessary pages are getting indexed, your important pages may not get the chance of appearing in search results.

To avoid this, it is better to exclude such pages from getting indexed.

The advantage of using Yoast SEO is that you can also add a no-index tag in these unnecessary pages.

A no-index tag tells search engines that the respective page should not be indexed.

If you are not using CMS, then you can prevent bots by adding robots.txt file. This robots.txt file will completely block the bots from crawling your pages. You can submit your robots.txt file in Google Search Console.

Make sure that your sitemaps and robots.txt are working equally.

For example, you have a category of SEO Experts in India, and you don’t want it to be indexed by Google or other search engines. But on the other hand, you have submitted a sitemap of category asking Google to index your category page.

It will send mixed signals to Google, and it may consider it to be spam.

Hence, look carefully for the pages you want to index.

by Gautam Sharma
References and Bibliography
Gautam Sharma is the best Digital Marketing blogger having 7+ years of experience in the field. The article finds its reference from the website SEO Expert in India.
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