What are XML sitemaps? Name some different types of sit-maps. Also explain main benefits of using XML sitemaps.

Subject: Advanced Internet Technology

Topic: RIA and Mashup

Difficulty: Medium

2 Answers

XML Sitemaps are a useful and in some cases essential tool for your website. In particular, if you have reason to believe that the site is not fully indexed, an XML Sitemap can help you increase the number of indexed pages. As sites grow in size, the value of XML Sitemap files tends to increase dramatically, as additional traffic flows to the newly included URLs.

Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft all support a protocol known as XML Sitemaps. Google first announced it in 2005, and then Yahoo! and Microsoft agreed to support the protocol in 2006. Using the Sitemaps protocol you can supply the search engines with a list of all the URLs you would like them to crawl and index. Adding a URL to a Sitemap file does not guarantee that a URL will be crawled or indexed. However, it can result in pages that are not otherwise discovered or indexed by the search engine getting crawled and indexed. In addition, Sitemaps appear to help pages that have been relegated to Google’s supplemental index make their way into the main index. This program is a complement to, not a replacement for, the search engines’ normal, link-based crawl.

Types of site-maps are:

  • Index Sitemap (how many URL sitemaps a website have)
  • URL Sitemap (contain final information of URLs on webpage)

XML sitemaps are further divided into 3 different categories.

  • Sitemaps for webpages (commonly known as xml sitemap in community)
  • Image sitemaps (details of images and their URLs on website)
  • Video sitemaps (what webpages have videos embedded in them and their details)

So, final tree of sitemaps categorization we have is;

  • XML Sitemap

    • Index Sitemap
    • URL Sitemap

      • Sitemaps for Webpages
      • Sitemaps for Images
      • Sitemaps for videos

The benefits of Sitemaps include the following:

  • For the pages the search engines already know about through their regular spidering, they use the metadata you supply, such as the last date the content was modified (lastmod date) and the frequency at which the page is changed (changefreq), to improve how they crawl your site.
  • For the pages they don’t know about, they use the additional URLs you supply to increase their crawl coverage.
  • For URLs that may have duplicates, the engines can use the XML Sitemaps data to help choose a canonical version.
  • Verification/registration of XML Sitemaps may indicate positive trust/authority signals.
  • The crawling/inclusion benefits of Sitemaps may have second-order positive effects, such as improved rankings or greater internal link popularity.
  • A site map is a model of a website's content designed to help both users and search engines navigate the site. A site map can be a hierarchical list of pages (with links) organized by topic, an organization chart.
  • A good XML sitemap is a roadmap to all important pages of a website.
  • This roadmap guides search engines to all main content on a website. Having an XML sitemap can be beneficial for SEO, as search engines can retrieve essential pages of a website very fast, even if the internal linking of a site isn’t flawless.
  • You can use an XML sitemap to make sure search engine can find and crawl all pages you deem essential on your website.
  • An XML sitemap contains all important pages of a site to help search engine to determine the structure of it.

  • There are principally two types of sitemaps;

  • HTML sitemap (written in Hypertext Markup Language)
  • XML sitemap (written in Extensible Markup Language)

  • XML Sitemaps can have two types.

  1. Index Sitemap (how many URL sitemaps a website have)
  2. URL Sitemap (contain final information of URLs on webpage)
  • XML sitemaps are further divided into 3 different categories.
  1. Sitemaps for WebPages (commonly known as xml sitemap in community)
  2. Image sitemaps (details of images and their URLs on website)
  3. Video sitemaps (what WebPages have videos embedded in them and their details)

- The benefits of Sitemaps:

  1. Ensures better visibility by search engines.
  2. Enables you to rely less on external links that will bring search engines to your site.
  3. Helps with broken internal links or orphaned pages that cannot be reached in other way.
  4. Alerts search engines to any changes/additions to your site.
  5. Helps you choose pages that you don’t want to index.
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