What is the importance of XML Sitemaps for SEO in the age of panda

importance of XML Sitemaps for SEO - successforblogging.com

XML SITEMAP

An XML sitemap creates a blueprint of your site for bots and search engines to follow. It ensures that the spiders can easily reach all parts of your website and indexes your pages quickly. Think of your website as a home and each page of your website as a room, it’s a very crucial part of SEO.

XML sitemaps are imperative to the success of SEO–period. XML sitemaps are a bit complex from HTML sitemaps because they are designed for search engines & spiders, not for website visitors. XML sitemaps can be visible with any web browser, but their primary role is to provide the URLs(content) of a website to search engines. They even show data on how often a page has been changed compared to other URLs on the same site. This information is precious for search because the more links they are provided with, the more a website will look in search engine results.

Unfortunately, without a proper sitemap, some of your priority pages could be missed by search engines. This means that search engines will not be able to find your content, making it very tough for your website to be ranked in search engine results. Of course, like a website or business, this is the last thing you want to happen. If you want to compete with your competitors in Google, Bing, and Yahoo! Then submit your sitemap.

XML Sitemaps are especially important if:

  • You have pages on your website created dynamically (for example some e-commerce sites)
  • Your website is not well-structured or well linked with internal links
  • Your website has less external links or is new (for a newly developed website just set “live”)
  • Your website is extensive or has lots of archived content that may not be well-linked
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Benefits of having an XML sitemap

Having an XML sitemap on your website passes more data to search engines. So it also:

  • Lists all URLs from your website and includes pages that would not have been searched by search engines
  • Gives search engines page priority and thus crawl priority. You can add a tag to your XML sitemap saying which pages are the most necessary. Bots will then first focus on the priority pages.
  • Gives brief information. You can also include two other optional tags that will pass extra data to search engines to help them crawl & indexed your website. The first one, “lastmod’ notifies them when a page last time changed. The second one, “changefreq” indicates how often a page is likely to change.
  • Gives you data back from the Google Webmaster Central. You can access google bot activity for the case.

How to set up XML sitemap

Creating your XML sitemap can be a little bit easy as many websites (CMS)content management systems like WordPress offer the ability to automatically create yours. But if you use this solution, make sure that the output is in the correct format and is error-free.

Your sitemap should be

  • Starts with an opening tag & end with a closing tag.
  • Specify the namespace (protocol standard) within the tag.
  • Must include an entry for each URL, as a parent XML tag.
  • Must include a child entry for each parent tag.
  • Make sure to use UTF-8 encoding.

Google and Bing

Registering your sitemap with Google and Bing gives the search engines an indication that your content has been created or we can say updated before they find it on the other websites. It is really a very easy process with both the search engines.

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To submit a sitemap to Google:

If we talk about Google, the required protocol is Sitemap Protocol 0.9. Your XML Sitemap must start with this tag: <urlset xmlns=”ht tp://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″> and Make sure to use UTF-8 encoding.

  • Ensure that the XML Sitemap is on your web server and accessible via its URL.
  • Log in to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Under -Crawl, you have to choose -Sitemaps.
  • Click on the red button in the upper right marked -Add/Test Sitemap.
  • Enter the URL of the sitemap and click on Submit Sitemap.

Then you have to verify your XML sitemap with Google Webmaster Tools to make sure that it is in the right format and being correctly uploaded to your web server. Another great reason to register your website sitemaps with Google particularly is to reach Sitemap errors. Google Webmaster Tools provides excellent information about the status & statistics of each Sitemap and any errors it finds.

To submit a sitemap with Bing:

  • Ensure that the XML Sitemap is on your web server and accessible via its URL.
  • Log into your Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Click on -Configure My Site and then- Sitemaps.
  • Enter the full URL of the sitemap in the “Submit a Sitemap” text box.
  • Click “Submit.”

CONTENT ORGANIZATION, CONTENT DUPLICATES, AND PANDA

It is a common thing for publishers/authors to allow their content on other websites, and further, it is not the common thing for publishers/authors to have their own website’s content ministered by other websites with no formal & legal agreement. One can do a simple Google search of any of the article title and find that same article on many, many websites, with none of them being authorized & legal agreement copies.

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For each publisher/author website that offers duplicate content or offers to have content written by others, being penalized by Google. The content can be copied with or without permission. This is where Google Panda comes in. The recently update to the Google Panda algorithm is mainly focused on removing that duplicate or copied content from the results pages of Google search engine. It means that if a website is not considered the original publisher/author of the content, the website will be at risk for not showing up in the search engine results and also being penalized by Google.

Conclusion

XML Sitemaps are one of the tools that can help content creators(authors) to authenticate themselves as the original author of the particular content. I hope this post will surely help you in submitting your website sitemap. If we missed out something please let us know, we would love to hear from you.

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