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Practical Technical SEO: How to create and place XML Sitemap on Google [2023]

The first step to getting a website online and getting traffic to it is to create an XML Sitemap. This will tell Google what and where all the existing pages of that domain are, and how they are composed. There are several Sitemaps, but XML is the most versatile format, as it is extensible and can be used to provide additional data on image, video and news content.

Getting your Sites XML Sitemap into Google

Before you even create an XML Sitemap, you should make your site visible on Google by creating a Google My Business. Once this step is done, you can create the XML Sitemap in various ways and place it in Google Search Console directly. This way search engines can crawl the website/domain faster and more effectively.

This is the formula of a Sitemap in the HTML code, which will be in the header of a website:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/
schemas/sitemap/0.9″>
  <url>
    <loc>http://www.example.com/foo.html
</loc>
    <lastmod>2018-06-04</lastmod>
  </url>
</urlset>

It consists of:

  • An XML version declaration: the type of file being read;
  • The URL set: which tells search engines about the protocol;
  • The URL: which lists the URL of the page;
  • Lastmod: a date format that describes when the page was last modified.

 

Some Sitemaps can be generated automatically by Google extensions like “Sitemap Generator” or plugins. In WordPress you can use “Yoast SEO” or “Rank Math”, you just have to follow the steps: go to the plugin’s tab where it will be “Sitemap Settings” and put “Enable” in all the Sitemaps it may contain, such as pages, posts, landing pages, header and footer, categories, etc. This is because the more Sitemaps you make available of your respective site, the easier it will be for Google to recognize how it is composed. Then you need to place the extensions of these Sitemaps in Google Search Console, in the second image below is the XML Sitemap extension for the pages of the site: “page-sitemap.xml”.

rank-math-sitempa-html
rank-math-sitempa-page

Another system where you can create a Sitemap, not having a CMS, is in the free software “Screaming Frog“. Go to Mode > Spider, paste your homepage URL into the box labeled “Enter URL to spider” and hit “Start”. After the crawl is done, go to Screaming Frog’s “XML Sitemap”, select all the Sitemap you want to import and press “Next”, so it will be saved on your computer. You can then export it into an SEO software, such as “Ahrefs” or “SemRush”.

modo-spider
sitemap-screaming-frog

Once the Sitemap is created, it will have to go to Google. In Google Search Console there will be a tab, the so-called “Sitemap”, here you will have to add / submit the URL of your Sitemap. Google will process it and deliver the message that it was a “success”. In Google Search Console you can place several Sitemaps of the same website, listed by categories, posts, pages, etc, and not just a single index of the general Sitemap.

google search console

However, there may be indexing errors in the XML Sitemap pages: server errors, redirect errors such as a looped redirect, URL blocking by the robots.txt file, URL blocking by the “noindex” tag or a non-existent URL (404 error). To identify these issues you can go to Google Search Console to check the reports on the index coverage status. Each URL should be analyzed to correct the error that prevents its indexing.

Which pages should be in your XML Sitemap?

The pages that should be in an XML Sitemap should always be the most relevant and important first, for example, the homepage, header, footer, services or products page and the contact page, these should be prioritized. If there are any pages that you do not want to be displayed in the Sitemap, such as a price list, you will need to add a ‘noindex’ tag to it or remove it from search engines with Robots.txt.

Best practices for XML Sitemaps

  • Sitemap size limits: 50 MB;
  • Sitemap file encoding and location: UTF-8;
  • URL properties: use absolute URLs, e.g. if the site is with https://www.bringlinkseo.com/, do not specify a URL like /mypage.html: use the full, absolute URL:
    https://www.bringlinkseo.com/
    mypage.html;
  • All best practices here.

Sitemaps Formats

Google accepts several types of Sitemaps formats, namely RSS, mRSS, Atom 1.0, TXT and XML. The simplest of these is the text file: TXT, where the URL’s of a site are listed. RSS, mRSS and Atom are specific for news feeds, they are limited by being only able to inform recent postings on websites. The XML format is the most efficient, as it lists and classifies URL’s based on various criteria: images, pdf’s, videos, posts, pages, etc.

Conclusion

An XML Sitemap is extremely important because without it Google does not recognize the domain, that is, everything that contains a given site, be it pages, posts, categories, images, pdf’s, etc. It is important for an SEO professional that your entire site is being crawled by Google, because if the domain is not indexed, you will not be able to get organic traffic. The XML Sitemap facilitates the indexing of all the pages of a website and gives several inputs to the SEO professional about how the pages are, namely, if they contain errors and problems or if they are well structured.

Today, many companies need immediate results, but the truth is that they cannot afford to implement SEO internally while leveraging with the priority of their business focus. If you still can’t handle these steps or don’t have the time to put them in place, Bringlink SEO ensures you get the brand visibility and growth you deserve.

Talk to us, send email to bringlinkseo@gmail.com.

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