7 Reasons Why Your Website Needs an XML Sitemap
XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, and it provides a way to structure data in your website or other database. An XML sitemap is an XML file that lists the pages of your website and their links from one page to another.
An XML sitemap has many benefits to the user experience of your website, such as speeding up load times and improving search engine rankings, because it makes your site easier to navigate and crawl by search engines and web spiders.
In this article, we’ll be exploring 7 reasons why you should use an XML sitemap on your website today!
1. Improves Search Engine Optimization
An XML sitemap provides search engines with more information about your website, which ultimately leads to better rankings in search results.
Also, because it’s constantly updated, each time you create new content for your site, submit an update for your sitemap and make sure to ping Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Center. This way you’ll know your pages are being crawled and indexed properly by search engines.
2. Increases Traffic to Your Site
An XML sitemap is an easy way to boost traffic to your site. Google, Bing and Yahoo love pages with inbound links, and adding one to your site will help you gain more exposure on search engines and social media sites like Facebook.
And because they are so easy to read, they make it a snap for website visitors to navigate around your site! You can also use web design tools like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack if you’re not comfortable creating one from scratch.
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3. Increases the Number of Backlinks
It’s often easier to create a sitemap for your website than it is to convince websites that link to you to update their links. A sitemap can actually help increase your number of backlinks. It's usually simpler to create a sitemap for your site than it is to convince sites linking to you to update their links.
A well-organized and updated sitemap will make sure the web crawlers are able to find every page on your site, even if they may not know about them yet.
4. Helps with Conversion Rates
A sitemap ensures your business remains at the top of Google’s search results, which can help boost traffic and conversion rates. While a site map won’t guarantee your website will appear higher in search results, it may increase your chances—especially if you don’t rank well without one. If you make updates to your site without updating its sitemap, Google may not be able to crawl it properly.
5. Ensures Key Pages are Indexed
With so many pages on a website, it’s easy for some of them to get buried and not noticed. An XML sitemap makes sure that all your important pages are indexed in a standard, search-friendly way.
And if you plan to make future changes to your site’s content, having a sitemap also means that Google won’t index your new pages before you’re ready.
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6. You can't Link to It If it Doesn't Exist
If you have a ton of internal links or references to pages on your site that don't actually exist, a sitemap is imperative. These non-existent pages will throw your search engine rankings out of whack, which can make it difficult for potential customers to find exactly what they're looking for when they come to your site.
A simple sitemap is all it takes to ensure these errors don't happen in your website. The best part?
7. It's Good For Users
Search engine algorithms have become a lot more sophisticated over time, and because of that they now take user experience into consideration when determining rankings.
As a result, sites with great UX (user experience) tend to rank higher than sites with poor UX. Having a sitemap on your site helps you create a better user experience by making it easier for users to find what they're looking for.
There are a few things to keep in mind when creating an XML sitemap:
- Make sure to include all of the important pages on your site. This includes the home page, as well as any other pages that you want people to be able to find easily.
- Include the most important pages first. This will help search engines understand the hierarchy of your site, and which pages are more important than others.
- Use proper formatting. XML sitemaps must be well-formatted in order to be read by search engines. This means using proper indentation and including all of the required information for each page.
- Update your sitemap regularly. As you add new pages to your site, be sure to add them to your sitemap. This will help ensure that search engines can find all of the important pages on your site.
- Submit your sitemap to search engines. Once your sitemap is complete, you can submit it to search engines like Google and Bing. This will help them index your site more effectively, and can even lead to higher rankings.