Here is a simple to understand guide on Sitemap XML.

What is a Sitemap XML? 

Sitemap XML or Sitemap Extensible Markup Language is the list of all the URLs of pages on the website. It is the text content of the sitemap or a plain list in code format for all the URLs. Website owners/ Marketers submit a sitemap to Google and other search engines to help them crawl the website efficiently. 

It also allows Google or the other search engines to track and crawl your website, the recently changed pages and provides them with the information about the last update. Google recognizes all the pages and has placed the XML Sitemap under the Share alike creative commons license. After the preparation of Sitemap XML with all the URLs, you can submit to the Google Search Console account. 

A sitemap is used to prepare a list of the website URLs to make the search engine understand the structure and the content of the website reachable efficiently. Sitemaps depend on the URL Structure of a website.

Why is it important to have an XML sitemap prepared?

Knowing the benefits of having a proper XML Sitemap will make you understand why you must have an XML sitemap; you check for all the valid URLs and then submit it.  

  • The purpose of the XML sitemap is to keep all the information handy for all the search engines.  
  • It is beneficial especially if you have larget websites so that Google doesn’t overlook recently updated pages. 
  • It is important when your website has a large amount of archive content pages not linked properly or do not relate to one another. 
  • If there aren’t enough external links to the URLs of your pages, Google will not be able to link one page to another. Hence, there will not be much visibility for most of your pages. 
  • It is beneficial when your website has a lot of media content. Google will take this additional information into account to crawl your website. 
  • A well-organized XML sitemap helps search engines to find data on your website faster. 
  • Google also takes into account the time duration and the subject of the video files on your website.
  • XML Sitemap is also useful even if your internal linking is not that perfect; it takes into account the other ways to connect them to your homepage. 
  • Use it to make your website get notified to the search engines with a track of all the updates and changes you make. 

Smaller websites do not need XML Sitemap as it we can link it internally. It is also not required when you do not have any media files on your website. You can also add or remove new URLs to the same XML Sitemap. All you have to do is to go to edit mode and deselect the URLs that you do not want to include on the XML Sitemap or the ones that are no longer available on your website and have external links to them. 

If your website has a large number of pages, for example, consider an e-commerce website that has say over 10,000 pages in this case you can also create an additional XML Sitemap for the remaining URLs.