XML Sitemap Creation Best Practices
In order to have all of the pages of your website indexed by major search engines, it’s important to XML sitemap creation. XML sitemaps translate all of your pages into machine-readable content so that it is more search engine friendly. Sitemaps are especially helpful for webmasters since they can submit all URLs as well as metadata to improve indexing of their websites.
Google offers an extensive list of third party sitemap generators that fit your needs and can be created easily. All websites using SEO should have XML sitemaps now, especially with the rising competition of natural search. This list offers sitemap generators supported by Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing. These major search engines all conveniently use the same XML sitemap, which makes submission much easier.
Things to Keep in Mind When Creating A Sitemap:
- Sitemap file can contain a maximum of 50,000 URLs (max size 10MB uncompressed)
- You can break your sitemap into smaller sitemaps to avoid overloading your server. List them in a Sitemap Index File in your Webmaster account and submit to Google (no need to submit individual sitemaps, just the index)
- Make sure all URLs are listed in the same syntax, from one single host
- Remove session IDs from URLs
- Make sure your sitemap file includes your sitemap namespace
- Sitemap URLs must be UTF-8 encoded and readable by the webserver it is located on
- You can name the sitemap file what you wish, but Google recommends using a .txt extension
- Include nothing but the list of URLs in the text file
After creating your sitemap, make sure to submit it to search engines. One of the main purposes of an XML sitemap is to improve SEO, so be sure all search engines have your information.
Search Engine Submission Sites