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Practical SEO 9 - Sitemap

There are two types of sitemap, HTML sitemap (lower-case) and XML Sitemap (upper-case).

A HTML sitemap is a simple page on the website that displays the structure of the website, and usually consists of a hierarchical listing of the pages on the website. Visitors may visit this page if they are having problems finding pages on your site. While search engines will also visit this page, getting good crawl coverage of the pages on your site, it's mainly aimed at human visitors.

An XML sitemap is an XML formatted list of the urls that makeup a particular website. In XML Sitemaps, we generally include all the URLs of our site to help search engines discover most of our URLs. We can also create XML Sitemaps for other content like videos and mobile web pages to make them easily discoverable by search engines. By creating and sending this list, you are able to notify Google of all pages on a website, including any URLs that may have been undetected by Google's regular crawling process.

In one word, an HTML site map can help users easily find content that they are looking for, and an XML Sitemap can help search engines find pages on your site.

Here are some ideas of how to optimize XML Sitemap:

Location of XML Sitemap

By default, the location of XML Sitemap can be assumed as your-site/sitemap.xml. If we have multiple sitemaps or our CMS generates files with some unique names, all we have to do is mention it by adding the following line in the robots.txt file: Sitemap: http://example.com/sitemap_location.xml For Google and Bing, XML Sitemaps can be easily submitted via Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. All other search engines can figure out the location of your XML Sitemap through the robots.txt file.

Create XML Sitemap

It is highly recommended to use Sitemap 0.9 protocol as defined by sitemaps.org. All the major search engines accept this standard protocol. There are many free tools available that can be used to create an XML Sitemap. xml-sitemaps is one tool that can create an XML Sitemap.

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