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SEO Best and Top Practices to Optimize your XML Sitemaps

While optimizing your website, it has become cardinal and major to create Xml sitemap. These sitemaps fabricate blueprint for your sites. These blueprints are presented to different search engines so that they can get acquainted with this fact that how your site is structured and laid out!

These sitemaps offer valuable and augmented data about your website that how each and every page has been updated from your side and when you made last changes and updates in your web pages. These sitemaps are especially and principally important for those which have archived content on their web pages but that content is not linked together and those which have thousands of web pages on their site.

We will scrutinize this discussion over here that how sitemaps can be optimized according to best and top SEO practices.

Using Effective Tools and Plugins so that Sitemap can be Generated Automatically

There are many Xml sitemap generator tools and one should use those tools and effective plugins which can produce these sitemaps automatically. It becomes plain and painless to create a sitemap when you have got the right tool in your hands! You can use an auditing software which has a built-in sitemap generator feature in it. Or you can use some of the popular plugins like we have Google XML sitemaps.

Individuals can make their own sitemaps on a manual and non-automatic basis. This process is done by following the rules of XML sitemap code structure. It not required on a technical basis that any sitemap has to be present in XML format. Even if your sitemap is present in a text file format, it is sufficient for your website.

Avoid Including ‘noindex’ URLs 

You should avoid and never consider this fact of including and adding ”noindex” URLs right in your XML sitemaps.

While you are submitting a sitemap to Google which consists of  “noindex” pages and blocked pages. It means that you are notifying to Google on a simultaneous basis that Google should index this web page and Google is not allowed and granted to index this particular page. This is the lack of consistency mistake which individuals make!

Splitting web pages into different XML sitemaps 

Google Search Console does not make this identification that which web pages of yours are problematic and which one of them are not! Suppose you have submitted 20,000 pages. And among them, just 15000 were indexed. And neither will you get the proper reasoning that why those leftover 5000 web pages were not indexed! This situation is faced by the big e-commerce websites.

The solution to this problem is to isolate and seclude your problematic pages. You should split every web page of yours into different XML sitemaps. And then test those sitemaps individually. Isolating the primary problems will let you easily fix those pages.

Considering Canonical Versions of URLs Only in Your XML Sitemap

Suppose you have the multiple numbers of web pages which look similar to each other. Like we have product web pages of the same number of products.

So to create Xml sitemap for such a web page, you should be using “link rel=canonical” tag so that you can inform Google that which web page is the primary and main page.

Prioritizing High-Quality Web Pages in Your XML Sitemap

During the production of your sitemap, you should be prioritizing and considering high-quality web pages only.

Consider mentioning those pages in your sitemap which are highly optimized and are included with lots of images and videos.

Test XML sitemap before making a submission to Google

Through Google Search Console, you should make an immediate submission of your sitemap. Go to your dashboard and click on Crawl button and select the option Add Test Sitemap. By testing your sitemap, you can check beforehand errors.

Submission of your sitemap will inform and apprise Google that which of your site pages are of high-quality and deserve an indexation. This Extensible Markup Language sitemap explains to Google the complete structure and anatomy of your site.

Keeping the File Size Small

During the sitemap generation process, you should keep the file size of it smaller. Smaller its file size will be, less hurt you are going to give to your server.

Though Google and Bing, they extended the size of sitemap files in 2016. But it is still marked as the top SEO practice to keep your sitemap size file small and as lean as possible

Creating Dynamic and high-Powered XML Sitemaps for Large Websites

For large websites, high-powered XML sitemaps should be created. For large and substantial in size websites, only dynamic sitemaps can fulfill the required purpose.

You should use those Xml sitemap generator tools which have a capacity to produce such sitemaps.

Never Get Upset or Bother Regarding Priority Settings

Some of the sitemaps, they comprise of a “Priority” column. This column apparently and supposedly tells all search engines that which web pages are extra important.

But it is recently discovered that Googlebot disregard these priority settings. They state them as a bag of noise and nothing else!

It means you do not have to upset or frighten yourself regarding the section of priority settings.

Using RSS/Atom Feeds

You should regularly and frequently use RSS/Atom feeds so that instant notification can be given to the search engines that when you last made an update in your web page or when you last brought the fresh content to your web page!

Google has highly recommended of using these RSS feeds and Atom feeds frequently so that quick help can be given to the search engines that which web pages need to be indexed.

Lastly, if your website has more than 50,000 URLs, then you should make several sitemaps of it. For large e-commerce sites and platforms, they have to make additional sitemaps so that they can handle the extra number of their product pages easily. So are all web professionals ready to follow exclusive SEO best practices which are in relation to optimizing XML Sitemaps!

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Written by Alvina Jennifer

professional content writer and journalist.

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