Things Website Owners Should Know When Creating a Sitemap

Sitemaps are a core part of search engine optimization. Having one will ensure that search engines can properly index all of your pages in their results. Even so, a lot of website owners don’t bother creating a sitemap, foolishly thinking they don’t need one. You do. So if you don’t think it’s worth creating a sitemap or if you haven’t created one yet, it’s important to read the following points.

XML isn’t the only sitemap format

Many think that XML is the only sitemap format, but it isn’t. There is also Google News Sitemap, a sitemap that is used exclusively by the media.

There are also RSS feeds, which are used by websites like blogs that post regular content. There is also the mRSS feed, which is used by large websites with loads of video content. There is even an alternate language sitemap, also in XML, which is used when your site is in more than one language.

You’re not supposed to add all URLs

When you create an XML sitemap, you really don’t need to include every single page of your website in it. You may have duplicate pages, redirection pages and error pages. None of these should be included. You also don’t need to index pages that are hidden behind a paywall or pages like your privacy policy.

Sitemaps don’t always apply for all websites

Okay, so while sitemaps are essential, not every website needs one. They should always be used by large websites or any site that has a blog, for instance.

However, if your site doesn’t have a lot of multimedia content and is intensively linked internally, a sitemap may not be needed. Also, websites with a simple site hosting, say Wix, need not create a sitemap. And if your website has a few indexable pages, a sitemap isn’t a requirement.

You should keep your sitemap private

You don’t need to make your sitemap searchable in Google. That may seem strange at the outset, but think about it, only Google needs to access it. And Google can access it without ranking it. The only thing you do by making it searchable is help competitors dissect your site more easily.

If you have a large content-based website, having a private sitemap can be a big advantage. One way to achieve this is to change the URL from something default, like /sitemap.xml. If you use this strategy, you’ll need to resubmit your page to Google so it knows where to look.

Know the limits

Sitemaps are not limitless. For instance, they can’t have more than 50,000 URLs and they can’t be bigger than 50MB. Of course, most site owners will never have to worry about this. But if you do, then the good news is that you can split your sitemap into two. You should be aware, however, that Google only allows you to submit 500 sitemaps. But, once again, most people will never have to worry about this limitation.