What exactly is a XML sitemap? An XML sitemap is a text file including a list of pages on your site that you prefer for Google and other search engines to index. You can think of them as digital maps that help search engines discover important content on your site.
They also inform search engines about what pages you think are important, how often these pages are changed, and when they were last updated. All of this helps search engines crawl your site more efficiently.
I mean when a new page is added or an old one is removed, these kinds of changes can directly be fed to the search engines via the XML sitemaps. And this whole thing actually speeds up the process of indexing your pages.
First, how do you decide if you need a XML sitemap or not?
Well, Google's documentation says that XML sitemaps are especially helpful for really large websites. What do we mean by really large websites? It means If your site has more than 500 pages.
For a really small and simple website, I would say it's a judgment call to have a sitemap or not. If you think that you have a very decent and clear link structure, and maybe you can set up some custom segments in Google Analytics to track different sections of your site, that can work for you, you can say that maybe I don't need a XML sitemap.
But even in that case, every single website wants Google and other search engines to be able to easily find the most important content on the site. If you create a sitemap and submit it to your Google Search Console account, you can easily get some feedback about the number of indexed pages on your site.
For example, if any pages are not indexed, you will easily know about it and you can immediately take action, and you can find out why this is happening.
When it comes to large websites I'd say it's crucial to have a sitemap. Imagine you have an e-commerce site with a few million pages. I think we can all agree that internal linking and actually keeping control of internal linking to those few million pages is very hard.
With a XML sitemap, you can show the way to Google actually where to find those important and valuable content on your site. Plus you can let Google know which pages are the recently updated ones. So it will focus on the fresh content on your site. On top of that, if your website is brand new, for example, there are not many links pointing to your site then a XML sitemap would also be very helpful to show the way to Google.
So basically you need to list only canonical URLs which are obviously indexable pages and they return 200 status codes. So this means you should exclude any kind of redirects like 301 or 302, which doesn't matter, or 404 pages and pages with thin or duplicate content.
You don't want to submit pages that are of low quality or that have thin content. You want to submit pages that have high quality and are more likely to bring organic traffic to your site.
One common mistake that many people do is including all the indexable pages in the XML sitemap. Well, being indexable is not the only condition. Your pages should have quality content that is valuable to users. You can add different media types to your sitemaps like videos or images.
In a perfect scenario, you would have a separate sitemap for your images. It's also a great way to tell Google where to find your images and discover them.
So basically every website would definitely benefit from having an XML sitemap. It doesn't hurt your SEO efforts, it doesn't pose any risks, it just gives you benefits. So why not use them?
Okay, so now it's the ultimate question is: how to create an XML sitemap. There are actually a few ways around it.
For example, if you use a CMS, many of them automatically generate sitemaps for you. Or you can choose the XML sitemap generator free by CeeVee SEO Tool.
Our XML sitemap generator free by CeeVee SEO Tool is completely free for any user without any limitation. This tool provides all the premium features. Just you have to do is fill in the relevant information to the tool and create your XML site map. Once you did copy your sitemap, add it to your website.
Using this XML sitemap generator free by CeeVee SEO Tool allows you to add up to 5000 pages to crawl. Also, you can change the priority level from 0.0 to 1.0 which is around 10 priorities.
Using XML sitemap generator free by CeeVee SEO Tool is very easy. But for information, we will tell you the steps to follow.
Step #1: First given option is you should enter your domain name.
Step #2: Next options are optional. Which is the Modified date, Change frequency, Default priority.
Step #3: Then enter how many pages do you need to crawl. It gives you options up to 5000 pages.
Step #4: Once you enter all the required parameters click Generate sitemap. It will take a few moments to create your site map.
Step #5 Next save your XML Sitemap in a.xml format and upload it to your domain root folder and the search engines.