Search Engine Optimization

What Are XML Sitemap and Why is Important?

Christian Thomson
November 14, 2019  •   2 min read

Updated July 30, 2020, 12:16 pm

An XML sitemap is what it sounds like—a map to your website. Just as a regular map will tell you how to reach your destination, a sitemap tells search engines where to go in order to see the important pages on your site.

Sometimes, your page will have no internal links connecting to them, so they can be hard to find. A sitemap ensures that Google can find and crawl every important part of your website and understand your site’s structure.

Having an XML sitemap is highly recommended. Even though they are not often thought of as a tool for SEO, the sitemap ensures that a website is listed accurately in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

All of the most popular search engines recognize XML sitemaps. This means that a single file is all that is needed, which also allows for quick and easy updates when changes are made to the website. Make it even easier by using a sitemap generator.

Using XML sitemaps helps search engines crawl and index your website and allows for the notification of all search engines by placing it in the robots.txt file.

In essence, sitemaps improve a website’s ranking in the search engine results pages. This is a significant boost to your SEO. By ranking well, your website benefits from increased visibility. You will be seen by a greater number of online users, which in turn will result in greater traffic to your site. This will prove to be of benefit to not only your site, but also the search engine user, as they will receive information regarding the best sites that match their queries.

This is made possible by the successful crawling of your site and indexing done by the search engine’s spiders.                                                

When using a single XML sitemap, best practices indicate that you should be updating it at least once each day if your website is changing that often. Following that, you will want to ensure that your changes appear correctly in the Search Engine Results Page.

Try putting as many URLs in each XML sitemap as you possibly can. Often what happens is that only a few links find their way into each sitemap, which makes it harder for Google to review all of the sitemaps in a timely manner—more sitemaps mean Google requires a longer load time. Keep your website optimized by making use of all the space available in each sitemap.

Making proper use of XML sitemaps will be beneficial to your website and your SEO efforts in a host of ways. Given that there is no real downside to using them, but there are a variety of benefits, there is no real reason not to make proper use of them

Christian Thomson

Christian is one of Canada’s most sought-after digital marketing experts. He has taken Marwick from start-up to 18th Fastest Growing Company in B.C. (Source: Business In Vancouver Magazine). Well known for helping business owners navigate and dominate the digital landscape. Over the last 19 years, Christian has helped companies attract great customers using the latest in digital marketing. Christian was also the co-founder of CIMC, Canada’s largest digital marketing conference. Christian is also a professional surfer, representing Canada at the ISA World Games in France. When Christian isn’t growing Marwick, and Marwick’s clients he can be found traveling with his family.