XML Sitemaps - SEO Best Practices

Last Edited June 3, 2015 by Super User in Search Engine Optimization

Best XML Sitemaps SEO Practices

Every website owner and online entrepreneur wants to succeed, hungers for the best search results and is willing to do anything to make it t the top of the search engines result pages through increased traffic to the site. Search engines optimization is a complex process that takes time and lots of resources to be realized. New algorithms are frequently released by the search engines led by search giant Google are frequently unleashing new updates aimed at ensuring that only the best and deserving websites attain higher rankings in SERPs. In as much as different experts hold different opinions about the influence of the Sitemaps’ influence on SEO, one thing that cannot be ignored is that, when you create a sitemap, you will complement your company’s SEO efforts.

As you try to optimize your sitemap’s influence in SEO, you have to consider a number of factors. For a start, consider the URL of the site, which is normally identified by the Googlebot. On this note, don’t include duplicate links, rather, focus on the keyword-rich and informative URL description that can easily be identified by the users as well as the search engines. Note that search engines rank content based on how keywords have been used and quantity of the content on the site with similar content. However, resist the temptation to overuse keywords as you create a sitemap because that alone can fetch you very hefty penalties from the search engines.

One of the most important factors that search engines consider when crawling websites is the modification frequency of the site. Therefore, as you create a sitemap, ensure that this is clearly identified. Search engines frequently visit sites that are constantly updated with fresh content. Therefore, see to it that your content is updated and current at all times so that the search engine bots can visit the site more often, identify fresh content and index the same. 

It is also worth noting that search engines also base their results on content size. This means that you should be careful with the file sizes since XML sitemaps are larger than RSS feeds in size. In this regard, break the sitemap into categories and considerably reduce the size to make it more appealing to the search engines. According to the sitemaps protocol, sitemaps are required to have a maximum of 50,000 links but there is no harm in having smaller sitemaps. Use a sitemap generator to create multiple sitemaps in smaller sizes depending on your requirements.

You must also not forget that the main reason you are creating the XML sitemap is because you want Google bots to find access to the content. It is therefore advisable to show all the links in the robots.txt files. Doing this will direct the search engines to areas where there is fresh content only as opposed to having them move from one link to another on the site; it is time consuming and therefore speeds up the crawling process.

When you create a sitemap, pay close attention to the links, ensuring that there are no broken links because such links have a way of reducing the search engines’ pace when crawling the site. The last thing you want is the search engines assuming that your site is slow and lagging, which will tremendously affect the SEO efforts in place. 

Author: Super User

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