Friday, 18 October 2013

Types of sitemap and their importance

The SEO people must be knowing what sitemap is and how they are important. The two most important sitemap are, one, the .xml sitemap and the other sitemap for users. The other sitemaps are image sitemap, video sitemap and mobile sitemap.
Sitemap is basically a file that has all the links of the website (that you want search engines to crawl). Since all links are at one place it becomes easier for search engines to crawl every link that it might miss because of lack of internal linking in website.

Let's know bit more about them:

  1. Sitemap: A usual sitemap is provided to users to help them to ease their navigation on the website. A sitemap should clearly define the links, the sub-parts of those links(if any). The best example of sitemap that I could find is http://www.apple.com/sitemap/ . Do visit and check the navigation.
  2. XML Sitemap: XML sitemap is an .xml file that contains all the links of the website and this sitemap is submitted on Google and Bing webmaster. This sitemap eases the work of search engines.
    The code looks like
    <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
    <url>
            <loc>http://myexample.com/</loc>
            <lastmod>2013-10-17T07:06:03Z</lastmod>
            <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
            <priority>0.5</priority>
    </url>

    You can easily generate this sitemap by using online tool http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ . The steps are mentioned on the tool.
  3. Mobile Sitemap: Now that mobile websites are in trend, having mobile sitemap is an intelligent move. The mobile sitemap can be submitted to webmaster for a better mobile website crawling. The code looks like
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9" xmlns:mobile="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-mobile/1.0">
    <url>
            <loc>http://myexample.com/</loc>
            <lastmod>2013-10-18</lastmod>
            <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
            <priority>0.5</priority>
            <mobile:mobile/>
    </url>

    if you compare the two codes (normal sitemap and mobile sitemap), there are only two extra notations added, else it is just the same.
  4. Image Sitemap: I have discussed about this sitemap in the Image Optimization post too. This sitemap is particularly for images. The image sitemap helps in getting images index faster. The code looks like:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
    xmlns:image="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-image/1.1"
    <url>
           <loc>http://www.myexample.com</loc>
           <image:image>
                <image:loc>http://myexample.com/image.jpg</image:loc>
           </image:image>
           <image:image>
                 <image:loc>http://myexample.com/photo.jpg</image:loc>
            </image:image>
      </url>
  5. Video Sitemap: Video sitemap is helpful when there are lots of videos on website. There are number of fields that you need to provide some important details about the videos. Keep them handy so that you can quickly create a video sitemap.
    The important fields are:
         *Title
         *Description
         *Play page URL
         *Thumbnail URL
         *Raw video file location and/or the player URL (SWF) and some more.
    The code looks like:
    <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
    xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1">
    <url>
            <loc>http://http://myexample.com/videos/video1_landing_page.html</loc>
            <video:video>
                 <video:title>The title of video comes here</video:title>
                 <video:description>Write a brief description about video here</video:description>
                 <video:content_loc>http://myexample.com/video1.flv</video:content_loc>
                 <video:player_loc allow_embed="yes" autoplay="ap=1">http://myexample.com/videoplayer.swf?video=1</video:player_loc>
                 <video:thumbnail_loc>http://myexample.com/thumbs/video1.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>
    </url>
    </urlset>
         
Important Points:
  • You can add up to 50,000 URLs in single sitemap, if numbers increases then create two sitemaps with different names (like sitemap.xml and sitemap.1.xml).
  • The file size should not be more than 50MB, if limit exceeds, again create two sitemaps.
  • To ease your work, name sitemap like, mobilesitemap.xml, imagessitemap.xml, videositemap.xml
  • If you carefully compare the codes discussed above, there is a declaration for every type of sitemap which is being created (mobile, video, image)
  • Before submitting sitemap to Google webmaster, test the sitemap first and if there are no warnings or errors then proceed with submitting it, else remove errors and warning and then again test and then submit (if all goes well).
Important Links:

2 comments:

  1. Adding to this, webmaster should also add the URLs of different sitemaps to robot.txt file. As, it help in crawling the sitermap pages and other pages of the sites easily by search engine bots.

    ReplyDelete