Introduction to SiteMaps

Patro.Madhusmita87
Posted by in SEO category on for Beginner level | Points: 250 | Views : 859 red flag

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. A sitemap is nothing, but an XML file that has the lists of URLs for a site along with additional meta data about each URL, so that search engines can crawl more intelligently.
Recommendation
Read Introduction to SEO Canonicalization before this article.


What do you think, what are sitemaps?

In this article, we will be looking into why, how, when and where the sitemaps are used in the world of internet marketing.

Introduction

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. A sitemap is nothing, but an XML file that has the lists of URLs for a site along with additional meta data about each URL, so that search engines can crawl more intelligently.

Web crawlers discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps are the list of pages on a particular website, by creating and sending this list, we are able to notify Google of all pages on a website. 


Prepare two sitemaps: One for users and one for search engines

  • Sitemaps for users are the sitemap (lower case) is a simple page on your site that shows the structure of the website and consists of a hierarchical listing of pages on your site.
Why this sitemap is called the sitemap for users? 

It is because; visitors may visit this page if they are having problems in finding pages on your site. In some cases, even search engines may also visit this page for getting good crawl coverage of pages on your site. It is mainly meant for human visitors.

  • The XML Sitemap (upper case) file, which webmasters submit through Google Webmaster Tools(GWT) which makes it easier for Google to discover pages on your site. Using sitemap is the only way to tell Google which version of URL you prefer as canonical one. 

Sitemap Protocol

  • Sitemap protocol format consists of XML tags.
  • All data values in sitemap must be entity-escaped. The file must be UTF-8 encoded.
<? Xml version=”1.0” encode=”UTF-8”?>
<urlset xmlns=http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9>
<url>
<loc>http:// www.example.com/</loc>
<lastmod>2014-07-02</lastmod>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
<priority>0.8</priority>
</url> 
<url>
….
….
</url>
</urlset>
How does example works?
The tag <loc> is the URL of the page. This URL must begin with protocol (http) and with trailing slash. This value should be less than 2048 characters. The tag <priority> value ranges from 0.0 to 1.0 this value doesn’t affect how your pages are compared to pages on other sites, the default priority of a page is 0.5

Conclusion

After reading this article, readers might have understood the basics of sitemaps and their uses in sites. Sitemaps can be powerful tool to make sure that your website is properly indexed. If you implement it intelligently, you can get lots of value with minimum effort and maintenance. 

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About the Author

Patro.Madhusmita87
Full Name: Korada Madhusmita
Member Level: Starter
Member Status: Member
Member Since: 1/27/2014 3:02:13 AM
Country: India
k.madhusmita
http://www.dotnetfunda.com

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