XML sitemaps are very useful for your website SEO. They allow Google bots to understand your site structure, and get to the important pages of your website very fast.

According to Google,

“Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover.”

If making sure your website is visible on search engine result pages (SERP) and ensure your products and services are patronized, installing XML Sitemap on your business website is something you really don’t want to overlook.

An XML (Extensible Markup Language) Sitemap is a text file used to detail all URLs on a website. It can include extra information (metadata) on each URL, with details of when they were last updated, how important they are and whether there are any other versions of the URL created in other languages. All of this is done to help the search engines crawl your website more efficiently, allowing any changes to be fed to them directly, including when a new page is added or an old one removed.

So how exactly do XML Sitemaps look like?

Let’s take a closer look.

Sitemaps contain information about each URL including:

  • When the URL was last updated
  • How often the web page generally changes
  • How important is in relation to the other pages of the site.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
<url>
    <loc>https://www.backdesk.ng/</loc>
    <lastmod>2020-06-02T19:18:52+01:00</lastmod>
    <priority>1.0</priority>

</url>
<url>
    <loc>https://www.backdesk.ng/about-us</loc>
    <lastmod>2020-06-02T19:18:52+01:00</lastmod>
    <priority>1.0</priority>
</url>
</xml>

XML Sitemaps are supported by a number of search engines including Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Why use a sitemap?

Sitemaps aids Search Engine Optimization

The biggest reason you should create and submit your XML sitemap is indexing. Even though search engines can still technically find your pages without one, adding a sitemap makes it so much easier for them. You might have orphaned pages (pages that got left out of your internal linking), or that are harder to find. Your sitemap is especially important when you’ve recently added pages or created a whole new site that doesn’t have a lot of, or any links to it yet.

Here’s how to go about generating and Installing XML Sitemap:

a) Use an XML Sitemap Generator:

Although sitemaps have different formats (XML, HTML, Image, and Video sitemaps), XML sitemaps are crucial. Below are free online tools / XML sitemap generators that could ease the stress of hard-coding it:

Online Sitemap Generators for XML Sitemaps:

CMS plugins for generating XML Sitemaps:

b) Validate your generated Sitemap

Once you are done generating a sitemap, you need to ensure all of the right elements and attributes are in place.

You can validate the generated sitemap using any of the sitemap validator tools below:

c) Install on your website via cPanel Account Filemanager

Once you’re done generating and validating your XML Sitemap, the next step is to add it to the root directory of your website ensuring you give the XML Sitemap file a simple name. For example, sitemap.xml

  • To do this, log into your cPanel account

cPanel - login - XML Sitemap

 

  • Locate the File Manager Option

 

  • Open into public_html folder

 

  • on the top menu, click on upload

 

  • Drag and drop or use the choose file button to import the sitemap.xml file

Upload XML Sitemap

 

Once the progress bar changes to green color, it means the sitemap.xml file has finished uploading. You can then close the page to go back to the file manager to be sure you uploaded the right file, and that’s it! You’re done with generating and installing XML Sitemap by yourself! Kudos! It wasn’t so hard after all.

 

Also read: Increasing Search Engine Visibility with Optimized URLs

 

Conclusion

When you do it right, XML sitemaps help search engines quickly find, crawl and index your website. Make use of an online sitemap generator or a sitemap generator plugin if your website is a CMS and also ensure you’ve properly formatted the sitemap file to get the most of their advantages:

  • You no longer need to rely on links to get your pages crawled.
  • Search engines will see new or updated sites and pages more quickly.
  • Search engine Bots can crawl pages more intelligently thanks to the meta-information available in sitemaps.
  • You can make sure that search engines are finding important information about images and videos, which are inaccessible to crawlers.

Use the steps above and you’d be sure your website is properly optimized!

 

 

Have you created and submitted an XML sitemap for your website? What benefits have you noticed? Did you encounter any challenges? Share your ideas, issues, and solution in the comment section.

 

Do you need help with the technicality of Generating, Installing, and Submitting sitemaps for your website?

We are here for you.

Call us  +234 906 916 1331, Email us  info@backdesk.ng or visit => https://www.backdesk.ng/website-maintenance-plan  To get started today!

About The Author

Obinna Akaolisa

Obinna is a Full-stack Web Developer and Digital Marketer. As a creative Brand Identity Developer, he is passionate about promoting the Visual Representations of Businesses, Products & Services, helping them acquire leads & grow revenue.

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