XML Sitemap & Indexing

Help Spiders Find Your Site

One of the most basic and easiest things you can do to improve SEO is to ensure that web spiders can easily find and crawl your website. An XML sitemap achieves this goal. It’s essentially a list of pages intended to be found by web spiders, search engine bots, and/or users.  A good sitemap will provide a clear understanding of your website structure; organizing pages by hierarchy or content type -providing important meta-data for each page. If used correctly, a sitemap serves as a tool to organize and clearly define the pages within your website.  A sitemap can easily be created using Google Search Console, your content management system, (CMS), or a variety of other sitemap generator tools.

XML sitemap Types

There are multiple sitemap types. For the Google search engine, you’re going to be using XML files. Sitemaps can also be pointed at through robots.txt codes and could potentially use other formats, depending upon the search engine you are looking at. When submitting XML sitemaps to search engines, follow the instructions provided by each one. Also consider creating more than one sitemap for your site using variations specifically for images, videos, news, mobile, etc.

Will a Sitemap Get Pages Indexed?

There is no guarantee. A sitemap significantly improves your chances of being indexed by major search engines. If you submit sitemaps, you’re making it easy to be found. All businesses want to be found! However, search engines still need to determine if the quality of your pages are worthy enough to connect to specific search queries.  Ultimately, submitting a sitemap is important for SEO, but it’s not going to make a search engine like Google prefer your site over another just because you have a sitemap pointer.

Submitting Sitemaps to Search Engines

Once you’re happy with the sitemaps you have created, they must be submitted manually to search engines.  (Update & maintenance sitemaps manually as well.)  For any search engine, verify the website then ensure appropriate user permissions before submitting a sitemap. Be sure your sitemap is in the correct file format and actually exists on your web server before attempting to verify it.

Find XML Sitemaps on Your Website

  • View XML sitemaps currently associated with your website, simply type in your website URL with the XML index extension, such as: https://www.allaboutmybusiness.com/sitemap_index.xml
  • To Validate XML sitemap submittals, refer to the dashboards on Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools or other free sitemap validator tools
  • Be sure to check and update your sitemaps regularly, especially as new content as added to your website.
  • If you can’t find a page that you think should be on your sitemap, ensure that page isn’t blocked by robots.txt

How to Add Sitemap to Google

  1. Go to webmaster tools, or “Google Search Console”
  2. Find & select “sitemaps” in dashboard options
  3. Select “add/test sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate file format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

How to Add Sitemap to Bing

  1. Go to Bing Webmaster Tools
  2. Locate the sitemap widget from user dashboard
  3. Select “add a sitemap”
  4. Paste your sitemap code in appropriate format
  5. Test , Submit, & ensure it has been saved

Adding Sitemaps to other Sources

  • Yahoo! Site explorer is no longer valid.  Use Bing Webmaster Tools as shown above to ensure your sitemap is uploaded to Yahoo!.
  • Ask.com no longer allows the submittal of sitemaps. The best way to reference your sitemap location for Ask.com is to use robots.txt to reference it.

Help with Website Sitemaps

Hire additional assistance to create, upload, maintenance, or verify the success of your sitemap submittal, contact The Leaning Tree Digital directly for more information.

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