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A Light on Sitemaps September 22, 2009

Posted by kishosingh in sitemap.
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In SEO field, sitemap is the biggest chapter and still there is a big discussion on this subject. Still, there is much confusion among SEOs about sitemap. What is it? How it works? What is the importance of sitemap in SEO? These are the basic question about sitemap.

At first, I want to share my thought about sitemap. I think there are two types of sitemap – Sitemap XML and sitemap. You will ask what the difference between both is. Yes, this is the right question. At first, we should know about sitemaps. Sitemaps are the list of URLs and pages that tell search engine to crawl them. It means if a search engine crawler is not able to discover all the pages of a site then the sitemap gives the way to discover all the pages in single file. It is an XML sitemap that is known with capital “S”. The Sitemap tells to Google or other search engine crawler to discover all the pages of a site that is not discoverable.

Importance of Sitemaps:

This is helpful for dynamic site. If your site is based on dynamic pages, sitemap can guarantee to crawl all the pages by search engines crawler.

Your site has use of AJAX or images; Sitemaps is able to discover all the pages for search engine crawler.

If your site has large archive then Sitemaps are necessary to discover all the pages for search engines crawler.

Basic Rules for Sitemaps:

Search Engines don’t guarantee to crawl all the pages which are in Sitemaps. You should not put images URL in Sitemaps however, you can add that URL on which your images are added. Google adheres to Sitemap Protocol 0.9 so; you should crate a Sitemap using Sitemap Protocol 0.9.

URL Guidelines for Sitemaps:

A Sitemap always contain a list of URLs. A Sitemap can’t contain more than 50000 URLs and file can’t be longer than 10MB when uncompressed. A Sitemap can contain a list of Sitemaps with no more than 50000 Sitemaps. You should never include session IDs in URLs. If your site begins with http then don’t include www. Never use image URLs in Sitemaps.

You can create Sitemaps manually, through Sitemaps generator or from third party. Most of the blog has already RSS and Atom as feed that is used as Sitemap. Google is familiar with RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds. You should know these feeds are able to show only recent post URLs however, a Sitemap is able to show whole URLs of your site.