What You Should Know About XML Sitemaps

How do you submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console?
You can make your sitemap available to Google in one of two ways: submit it on Google Search Console or add it to your robots.txt file. Before you submit your sitemap to GSC, you must verify your site with Google. Then “add/test” your sitemap in GSC. Get the instructions here.

What You Should Know About XML Sitemaps

From those surveyed, there are still many search marketers who aren’t confident in sitemap best practices. Google has a great resource that tells you exactly what they’re looking for in a good sitemap but we’ve put together a quick, little guide below.

How to Create a Sitemap

If you search for XML sitemap generator, there should be a number of free websites you can use to generate your sitemap. Screaming Frog is also a great option to create all five types of sitemaps with their paid version. Most content management systems also have plugins like Yoast for WordPress to auto-populate the sitemaps.

Types of Sitemaps

What types of sitemaps you need and how many could vary based on how many types of content you have. Do you have a lot of videos? You should have a video sitemap. Is your business, global? Then you should have a HREFLANG sitemap.
Here are the different types:
  • XML Sitemap: This is generally what most people have. It’s an overarching sitemap that can include page urls, their priority, and associated meta data.
  • Sitemap Index: Basically, a sitemap for sitemaps. This is a necessary sitemap if you have more than a few sitemaps to submit.
  • Video and Image Sitemaps: These are great when you have a website with a ton of rich media. These allow you to better rank in the video and image tags of Google search.
  • HREFLANG Sitemap: These sitemaps should be put into use if you have websites internationally. A HREFLANG sitemap can create a handshake between a website and its international counterparts letting Google know that the content comes from the same brand. They will rank your local website higher if there is a HREFLANG connection. Additionally, it can help mitigate duplicate content penalties if there are many websites with the same messaging.

Your XML Sitemap Checklist

Are you sure your site is being indexed properly? Is all your content accounted for and crawled by Google? Are all your pages linked properly to each other? This checklist will help make sure you’re not missing anything, when submitting an XML sitemap.

The XML sitemap
Mobile XML sitemap
Images: XML sitemap
Video sitemap
Google Webmaster Tools: XML sitemaps
Bing Webmaster Tools: XML sitemaps

Are you migrating or redesigning your site? Make sure you have an XML sitemap strategy.

Do you have questions? Do you need us to go into specifics? Comment below!


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