What is Sitemap.xml?
Sitemap.xml is an XML file that lists URLs of a website. XML Sitemaps help search engine bots to crawl over your site easily.
As, sitemap happens to be an XML file, we need to follow XML schema for Sitemap protocol.
Here is a simple example of XML sitemap:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <!-- Encapsulates the file and its type: mobile, video,etc--> <url> <!--Parent tag for each URL entry--> <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc> <!-- URL of the page.-->
<lastmod>2014-2-2</lastmod> <!-- Date of modification of the URL file.--> <changefreq>daily</changefreq> <!--How often you make changes to file --> <priority>0.8</priority> <!--Prioritize your url to suite your site structure --> </url> </urlset>
After gazing through the codes, you might rise with some questions:
WHY DO I NEED A XML SITEMAP, when Google crawlers are enough capable of crawling my whole site ?
Sitemap helps Google or any other search engine to know about all the links on your site, which you like to get indexed.
Even Google is not sure about crawling your entire site, as it depends on your site interlinking technique and your site structure.
Google itself says:
“Google doesn’t guarantee that we’ll crawl or index all of your URLs. However, we use the data in your Sitemap to learn about your site’s structure, which will allow us to improve our crawler schedule and do a better job crawling your site in the future. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from Sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.”
So, it would be better to be ensured about getting your important pages indexed.
You can also use XML Sitemaps to provide Search Engines with specific types of content on your site, including video, images, mobile and news.
SITEMAPS FOR VIDEOS, IMAGES, MOBILE AND NEWS! What ?
Yes, you can extend your Sitemap with detailed information about specific content that can be video, images, mobile and news. Google allows you to extend your Sitemaps by adding XML Namespace in the “<urlset>” tag. As listed below:
How will Google know that I have a sitemap?
There can be two ways of getting your Sitemap crawled manually:
Robots.txt follows The Robots Exclusion Protocol i.e it tells search engine crawlers which files do they need to exclude from their index. So, the point is that the crawlers visits a robots.txt before crawling a site.
You can tell web crawlers about your XML Sitemap by a adding simple snippet to your robots.txt file:
AND how do you know all this about SITEMAP?
I work in a web designing & development company, Smartinfosys.net for past 3 years as an SEO consultant. We have a dedicated team which works on a research and development.