XML Sitemap Generator: 4 Best Practice You Should Apply
A lot of SEO experts struggle with the question of whether to create a sitemap or not. Some believe that it is unnecessary, and they can do without it. A sitemap is an important part of optimizing any website.
Here are the most important tips you need to know to create and optimize your sitemap for search engines and visitors.
What is a Sitemap?
As the name suggests, a sitemap is essentially a map for your website that helps search engine crawlers understand and navigate your site better. In a more technical sense, it is a file that lists the pages and other files on your website and the relation between them.
Search engines use this sitemap file to crawl your website more intelligently. It helps them crawl and index your web pages in a better way
How Do Sitemaps Help with SEO?
In terms of SEO, sitemaps provide a direct advantage as they help search engines crawl your website and index your pages better. This allows them to understand your website’s content better and rank your pages for the most relevant search queries.
And the better search engines understand, and index your pages, the higher your search rankings for the relevant search queries will be.
What Sitemap Best Practices Should You Follow?
There are many sitemap best practices that SEO experts recommend. But we have done our research and compiled a list of the most useful ones. Here are seven fundamental sitemaps best practices that you should follow to improve your SEO.
- Prioritize Your Webpages
- Categorize Your Content Properly
- Use a Tool to Create a Sitemap and Submit it to Google
- Never Include “Noindex” URLs in Your Website’s Sitemap
1. Prioritize Your Webpages
One of the best sitemap best practices that you should follow is to prioritize your webpages. The sitemaps protocol by Google allows you to rank your web pages and give them a score between 0.1 and 1.
The pages that you give a higher score to will be crawled more often than the ones with a low score.
2. Categorize Your Content Properly
The fundamental purpose of a sitemap is to help search engines understand your website’s structure and content. For that, it is crucial to categorize your content correctly so that the commonalities and hierarchies are clear.
So, correctly categorizing your website’s content is an essential sitemap best practices that you can follow.
For most websites, the primary content structure is homepage, then categories, and their subcategories. And, this follows the same hierarchical order.
3. Use a Tool to Create a Sitemap and Submit it to Google
Another useful sitemap best practice is to use a sitemap-generator tool to create sitemaps. It is much easier and faster to create sitemaps using tools than it is to create it manually.
If you have a WordPress website, then you can use the Yoast plugin and directly enable XML sitemaps from the plugin itself. For other websites, you can use Google XML Sitemaps to create XML sitemaps.
4. Never Include “Noindex” URLs in Your Website’s Sitemap
Noindex URLs are the ones that you don’t want the search engines to crawl or index. These might be utility pages that you don’t want showing up in search results but are useful for your website.
You may have added the Noindex to these pages using the meta robots method or placing the noindex tag in your robots.txt file.
Sitemaps are powerful and are a foundation of SEO. You should use sitemaps to improve your site’s rankings by helping search engines crawl your website more intelligently.
However, there are certain sitemap best practices that you should follow to do it the right way. These best practices will help you create sitemaps the right way and ensure that they perform their function well.