I prefer quick wins when it comes SEO and marketing.
Although I am committed to the long journey that blogging takes (10+ years), I would rather pull a few levers and push a few buttons to increase traffic.
It takes very little effort. Big wins. This is where I love to be.
There are some SEO methods that provide high value and low effort.
One of these techniques is creating an XML sitemap.
Before you go running after reading the term “XML Sitemap”, let me tell you some good news.
Although an XML sitemap falls under the technical side of SEO it is easy to create one. It's really not so “technical” at all.
You can create a great XML sitemap in just a few seconds. It doesn't take much to learn how to code. All you need to do is know how to click.
It's completely free. It's simple. It is simple and can help improve your SEO.
Are you ready to give it a shot?
What is an XML sitemap exactly?
What is an XML sitemap and what does it mean?
It's simply a list of URLs for a website.
It's also known as a sitemap. It shows how the website is organized and which pages it contains.
(“XML”) is an acronym for “Extensible Markup Language” which allows websites to display information.
This is what an XML websitemap looks like, but should you have one? What is the purpose of XML sitemaps?
What is the purpose of an XML sitemap?
Search engines use crawlers for indexing and organizing information on the internet.
These crawlers can read any type of information. An XML sitemap allows the crawler to easily see your website and index it.
Your website will have a greater chance of ranking higher quickly once it has done this.
An XML sitemap is essentially a table listing the contents of your website. It allows the crawler access the most important information and index your site accordingly.
A well-structured sitemap can do even more, however.
Sitemaps inform search engines when pages were updated, how often they are updated, their relative importance, and how to index and find content deep within the site's structure.
This is how a sitemap looks like:
- Where the page is located on the website (its URL):
- When was the last page changed?
- How often the page changes:
These features are crucial, particularly considering the extent of unauthorized syndication that occurs with content today.
Sitemaps can be viewed as duplicate content, which could lead to your website being penalized for SEO.
A sitemap, however, is an quick way to be indexed by Google.
Google can be told by a sitemap that this is your site and which pages you want to index.
Google will usually crawl your site within minutes and index your content.
What are the benefits of an XML sitemap?
If you're wondering, “Hmm. Are I reallyrequired to have a sitemap? Do I really need to go through all that trouble? It takes only a few minutes and has huge benefits.
These are the benefits of an XML sitemap
- It instructs Google to crawl your site and index it.
- It tells Google which pages it should crawl on your site.
- Google can see what information your site contains by using the XML sitemap.
- Google's XML sitemap informs Google when your content has been updated. This could lead to higher rankings or more favorable results.
- It informs Google about how often your content has been updated and its importance.
- The XML sitemap helps your website instantly gain indexation for dynamically-generated pages.
- It can help you overcome the limitations of websites with weak internal linking.
- It will help your site overcome the challenges of not having strong external links.
- It allows large sites to have better and more structured indexation.
- Google can crawl your website faster using the XML sitemap.
- It displays Google all pages on your website, even those that are not visible due to their depth.
We'll walk you through a three-step process to help you create your own XML sitemap.
- Make your XML sitemap.
- Your XML sitemap can be added to your website.
- Send your XML sitemaps to Google
I'll show you how to submit your Sitemap for Yandex and Bing.
Each of these points will be addressed in the remainder of this article. One final step is to use Ubersuggest for sitemap errors.
Create an XML sitemap using Screaming Frog (for any website)
Screaming Frog can create an XML sitemap of any website. It doesn't matter which CMS you use, how big your website is or how old it is.
To create the sitemap, you don’t even have to ownthe web page or have login access.
Is there any cost? The tool we will use is Screaming Frog. It offers free crawling up to 500 pages. A Screaming Frog license is required to crawl websites with more than 500 pages.
The Screaming Frog
You must first install Screaming Frog if you don't have it yet. Here's how to do it.
Screaming Frog, a powerful desktop program that assists with many SEO activities, is available for download.
Basic version is free. The full version, with license purchase, costs PS149.00 per annum (around $180 USD/EUR170 Euro).
This section will show you how to create an XML sitemap of any website with the free version Screaming Frog.
First, open Screaming Frog.
Next, enter your URL in the box at the top.
It can take anywhere from a few minutes up to several hours depending on the size of your site.
It takes a while for a site such as NeilPatel.com (6,000+ pages) to crawl, but it is not too slow. I have worked on large e-commerce sites with millions of URLs. These websites take hours to crawl.
The site will show “100” once it has completed crawling.
Click “Sitemaps” on the menu bar.
Click “Create XML Sitemap.”
Next, choose the sections of your website that you wish to be included in the XML sitemap.
This may appear confusing at first glance, especially if it's not clear what “Noindex” and “canonicalised” mean.
Below is a quick explanation of each:
- Noindex Pages:Noindex HTML pages have HTML code in their header, telling search engines to not include the page in their search index. It is likely that certain pages have been designated “Noindex” by your developer. do notcheck this box if in doubt.
- Include Canonicalized: You may have more than one URL that points to the same page. By “include Canonicalized”, you tell the crawler to include different URLs that point at the same page. This should not be checked if you are unsure.
- Include paginated URLs A paginated URL includes rel= attributes (rel=”prev”, “next”) that allow users to navigate through various content on a website. Pagination can pose a risk to SEO if you are not careful. I recommend you notcheck the box.
- Include PDFs You have the option to include PDFs in your XML sitemap. Google indexes any content, including PDFs. I recommend that you include PDFs into your XML sitemap. As long as your PDFs are relevant and important to users searching for your content, it is recommended.
This is the basic idea. Sitemaps are for SEO. Sitemaps are for SEO.
For my purposes, I will include PDFs.
Tabs “Last Modified,” Priority, and Change Frequency show the date and times that websites pages were modified.
If you don't have any knowledge about these settings, please accept them as-is.
It's a smart idea to include images in sitemaps. I will add them to my sitemap.
Click on the “Images” tab.
Next, click on “Include images.” The third box (“Include only relevant images with up to 10 links”) will be automatically checked.
Then, click “Next.”
Your XML sitemap will be saved to your computer. Click “Save” to place it in a safe location.
Now you will need to upload the file via FTP to your website. This may be something you already know.
You don't need to know how to upload the XML sitemap on your website. A developer can help you determine the best process for your server and/or CMS.
But creating a sitemap is just the beginning. A sitemap is nothing unless it's submitted to search engines.
To learn more, scroll down to the section “Submit XML sitemaps to Google”.
Create an XML sitemap using Yoast (WordPress only)
Yoast is a popular SEO plugin for WordPress. Yoast makes it simple to create and submit an XML websitemap.
This is how I will show you step-by-step. But first, let me tell you what you need.
- It is necessary that you are using WordPress.org.
- The Yoast plugin must be installed. It's completely free.
- Google Search Console must be connected to your website.
These three elements are already present on most websites. Let's get started if you are ready.
Login To Your WordPress Admin
Notice: My WordPress admin may look slightly different than yours in the screenshots below. This shouldn't stop you from following each step.
First, we need to make sure Yoast is ready to create a sitemap. We will need to enable Yoast’s advanced settings in order to do this.
Click the Yoast Plugin
It is marked with a “Y” symbol and should be found in the left-hand sidebar.
Click on the “Dashboard” option.
Click “Features” from the Dashboard.
Look for “XML Sitemaps” in the Features tab and toggle it to “On”.
Scroll to the bottom, and then click “Save Changes.”
Learn how to customize your sitemap. You might decide to exclude pages that you don't want public.
However, Yoast's sitemaps are generally solid.
Now it's time for you to submit this to Google.
Submitting your XML Sitemap To Google
Now, it's time for you to do something with your sitemap: submit it to Google
You will need Google Search Console installed on your website in order to do this. For more information, see this Google guide.
Go to Google Search Console first and then select your website.
Click “Sitemaps” from the dashboard.
Click “Add a New Sitemap.”
Enter the URL to which you saved your sitemap. Because it is an XML file, it should end with “.xml”.
To ensure that there are no errors, you can use the Sitemaps Report. (I will also discuss another method later.)
After that, Google will take care of everything else. Google can quickly index your site using your sitemap, which will help you rank higher.
How to Submit your XML Sitemap To Bing& Yadex
Google is the most popular search engine, but it's not the only one. If you want to get the most out of your XML sitemap I recommend submitting it both to Yandex and Bing. Here's how to do it:
Submit sitemap to Bing
Microsoft's answer for Google is Bing. It holds a smaller market share of just over 6%. Bing is visited by more than 900,000,000 unique users per month. It's easy to submit a sitemap to Bing.
Log in to Webmaster tools to submit your sitemap. Click on the Sitemaps widget to submit a sitemap.
Click “Submit” to enter the URL address of your file.
Send a Sitemap to Yandex
Yandex in Russia is Google's Russian equivalent. Yandex is Russia's version of Google. It controls more than 55% the Russian search market. Yandex also offers streaming music and online payment services. It takes just a few minutes to submit a sitemap, making it easy to reach a wider audience.
Here are the steps to submit your Yandex sitemap
Go to the Sitemaps Files page and select your site from that list.
Add the URL to your sitemap.
Click on add.
Your sitemap will take approximately two weeks to load. It is important to check your sitemap again to ensure it has been uploaded correctly. If it says “OK”, then it is good to go. Try uploading the file again if you see “Redirect”.
Troubleshooting is necessary if you see “error” and “not indexed”. Yandex has a guide to help you figure out the problem.
Ubersuggest to Find Your XML Sitemap Errors
You won't have any sitemap errors if you follow these steps. However, just because you shouldn’t, doesn’t mean that you won’t.
Ubersuggest can be used to find errors in your sitemap.
Step 1: Type your domain name, and then click “Search.”
Step 2: Click Site Audit in the Left Sidebar.
Step 3: Check the results.
You can review the sitemap data to find problems.
Clicking on Critical Errors will take you to my website.
My sitemap is in good shape. If there are any issues, you can find them here. You can also click the learn more button to see the full list of issues.
For more information on how to correct the error, you can follow the prompts.
Ubersuggest can be used to regularly check the health and functionality of your sitemap. It will take only a few minutes to check your sitemap once or twice per month, but it can make a big difference in your website's SEO.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are afraid to hear “XML sitemap”
It sounds code-like and jargony. How can you create an XML sitemap if you aren't an SEO nerd?
It's actually not difficult.
It takes less than ten minutes to create a sitemap with a program such as Screaming Frog and Yoast.
No problem if you don't know anything about sitemaps and want to learn the entire process from the beginning. The entire process can be completed in 20 minutes.
However, the SEO benefits will be immense.
I recommend that you create an XML sitemap immediately if you haven't done so before.
Perform a technical SEO audit of your site to identify any other problems.
You can do it. You have my back.
How did you create an XML sitemap and what was your experience? What has it done for your SEO?
By: Neil Patel
Title: How to Create an SEO-Boosting XML Sitemap in 20 Minutes (or Less)
Sourced From: neilpatel.com/blog/xml-sitemap/
Published Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2021 22:00:00 +0000