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What is an xml sitemap


A site map (sitemap) is a file in .xml (eXtensible Markup Language) format that contains links to all pages of the site. "Why do you need a sitemap?", this question probably just popped into your head. It is necessary for crawlers of search engines to quickly perform scanning and indexing. The XML map is placed in the root directory of the site and is called sitemap.xml.

In addition to direct URLs, the sitemap indicates the date of the last change of each page. With this option, when crawling the sitemap.xml, web spiders decide whether to re-visit each particular page and resubmit it to the index.

Pay attention! Not only the date of the last change indicated in the sitemap, but also their loading speed affects the frequency of crawling of web pages by the crawler . It has been observed that slow blogs and online stores are crawled by web spiders less often than fast ones. Ordering even the cheapest hosting of the CityHost site , do not doubt that your online resource will not start to "slow down" as soon as the number of daily visits exceeds the mark of 100 people.

Requirements for sitemap.xml

In order for crawlers to quickly read sitemap.xml and correctly interpret the information specified in it, follow these rules for compiling an xml map:

  • must be saved in UTF-8 encoding;
  • in the case of accessing the sitemap, the server must respond with 200 OK;
  • the maximum permissible "weight" of an xml file with links to web pages of an online resource is 10 megabytes;
  • the maximum number of pages whose URLs can be specified in sitemap.xml is 50,000;
  • if the "weight" of the sitemap exceeds 10 MB, and the number of URLs is 50 thousand, create several xml files and specify their links in sitemap.xml;
  • the purpose of the sitemap is to help search engines quickly perform indexing, and therefore the URLs in the xml file should be presented in the standard format;
  • it is recommended to remove links from the map that are blocked in the robots.txt file.

How to properly configure sitemap.xml

Three main methods of compiling a sitemap: manually, with the help of specialized online services and using the capabilities of the engine.

Manually compiling a sitemap is a painstaking task that requires concentration. In addition, this method of creating an xml map requires knowledge of the syntax of sitemap.xml and the ability to work with XML files. We recommend compiling a sitemap manually only if you have a good technical background and the number of website pages does not exceed 100 pieces.

Creating a site map (tree) speeds up the use of online services. All of them have a similar principle of operation - you need to enter the URL of the home page, specify additional parameters and wait for the sitemap to be created. These services mostly have a limit on the number of URLs added to the XML file. You can remove the restrictions by financially thanking the developer of the online tool.

Popular web services for automatic sitemap compilation:

  • xmlsitemapgenerator.org

The last way to create an xml map is to use the built-in capabilities of the engine on which the site runs. Note that some CMS "out of the box" do not automatically compile an xml file with web page URLs. But this problem is easily solved by installing plugins and extensions designed for this task. For example, if you create or administer sites on WordPress , install the Google XML Sitemaps application or the Yoast SEO SEO "harvester", which immediately after activation adds the ability to automatically create an XML map.

A properly configured sitemap.xml is the factor that most affects the speed of indexing by web crawlers. We recommend that you treat the creation of a sitemap with maximum care. Given that you already know what a sitemap is and how to make it correctly, you won't spend much time on it.

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