Basically, a sitemap is a page on your site that helps search engines find the content on your site. It’s kind of like it sounds; it’s a map of your site.In other words, a XML sitemap will ease Google to find your pages when it crawls your website because all your pages could be ranked, not only your website as a domain. It informs search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. While having no XML sitemap is not penalized, creating yours is highly recommended because it can improve your SEO.
Why should you get a XML sitemap
Like we said, having an efficient XML sitemap can improve your rankings. But this is particularly useful when:
- You have a website with a complicated structure or many internal links
- Your site is a new one or if you have just a few external links
- Your site is consistent and have archived content
- Your website has dynamic pages (mainly occurs for e-commerce website).
How to set up your XML sitemap
Creating your XML sitemap can be quite easy as many website content management systems offer the ability to automatically create yours. But if you use that solution, be sure that the output is in the correct format and is error-free. For Google, the required protocol is Sitemap Protocol 0.9. Your sitemap should:
- Begin with an opening tag and end with a closing tag.
- Specify the namespace (protocol standard) within the tag.
- Include a entry for each URL, as a parent XML tag.
- Include a child entry for each parent tag.
- And use UTF-8 encoding