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Boosting Your SEO with XML Sitemaps – Part 1

Building an XML sitemap can enhance the optimisation of your website. Sitemaps allow search engines to go through a website’s blueprint and determine how it is mapped out in terms of web pages. It allows search engines to easily traverse and index through all the web pages of your website. Go through the following tips for boosting your SEO with XML sitemaps.

1.     Submit an XML Sitemap to Google

Do you know how to submit an XML sitemap to Google?

Use Google Search Console and submit an XML sitemap to Google. On the dashboard, go to CrawlàSitemapsàAdd Test SiteMap.

Now, see if the sitemap is working fine and look for any errors through which your web pages – especially the landing pages – cannot be indexed. After successfully testing the sitemap, click Submit Sitemap.

Keep in mind that submission “informs” Google of how to evaluate the quality of your web pages and how to assess their indexation worth. However, it can never provide a 100% guarantee that your site will be indexed. Still, this step is useful in terms of SEO because it allows search engines to get an idea of your website’s layout. Moreover, you can identify errors that can help you to improve indexation.

2.     Look for Non-Indexed Pages

While using Google Search Console, you may discover that some of your most crucial web pages are failing to get indexed! What’s worse is that it only shows those pages that are being indexed. For instance, if you have submitted 200 web pages in total, you may only see 150 of them being indexed. To check which of the 50 pages were not indexed, you have to do a manual search.

Rather than laboriously searching for those web pages, you can make use of your XML sitemaps: break each product’s pages and assign them to their respective sitemaps. Here, testing can allow you to identify problems from the start.

3.     Add Canonical URLs

If two or more web pages bear too much resemblance, for instance, two product pages show two colours of the same smartphone model on an e-commerce website, you can make use of the linkrel = canonical tag. This tag directs Google on what page should it crawl and index as the “main” page.

As long as you don’t use canonical URLs with pages that refer to other web pages, bots are easily going to find your web pages.

4.     Manage the Limitations

Make sure that your sitemap is restricted in size, or else it can become a burden on the server. Over the past few years, Bing and Google have been increasing the sitemap size to more than 50MBs. Still, try your best to create short sitemaps.

At maximum, each website is allowed to create 50,000 URLs for a single sitemap. Such limit was created due to the lower number of web pages in the past. However, today, many websites have more than 50,000 web pages. Hence, you are going to need another sitemap for the extra pages.

Are you struggling with your SEO? Contact us so we can apply modern SEO techniques to boost your website’s ranking instantly.