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What is XML Sitemap and how to create it?

A file called an XML Sitemap contains a list of a website’s pages. Search engines can locate the most crucial pages of an Internet site thanks to a sitemap. It offers a reliable site indexing, however, the absence of a sitemap might seriously affect indexing.

Sections of the Sitemap

sections of sitemap

Sitemap’s principal components are as follows:

  • XML Announcement. The XML version is shown on this line. Version 1.0 and UTF-8 encoding is specified for the sitemap.
  • URL set. The URLs are then saved in the sitemap. It shows the protocol standard that is being used. The most common specification is Sitemap 0.90.
  • URL. All URL records use this. The <loc> tag must show where the URL is located. Absolute URLs must be used.

The URL tag contains the following extra attributes:

  • <lastmod> – displays the date the file was last modified; 
  • <priority> – indicates the URL’s priority
  • <changefreq> – reveals the frequency of page changes.

Sitemap Update for HTTPS

Your Sitemap must be updated as you switch to the HTTPS protocol, which happens in phases as follows:

  • If you have a current map with the HTTP protocol, you upload it to your computer, then you autocomplete it in a text editor and upload the map to the server. If an HTTP sitemap file is not up-to-date, it must be created.
  • Use specialized services for updating, such as MySitemapGenerator.
  • The Sitemap file is located in the root directory. You need to use an FTP client to access it.
  • Your robots.txt file must provide a link to the xml file.
  • Your webmaster panel receives the revised map.

Rules of Work with Sitemap

There are several guidelines you should adhere to when using the Sitemap:

  • Site.com/sitemap.xml provides access to the map. Put a 301 redirect to the current Sitemap location if you use a different URL.
  • Conflicts with the robots.txt file must be avoided. Sitemap pages that are not indexed in robots.txt must also not be present.
  • The XML-Sitemap file cannot include more than 50,000 links. If the map has additional links, it should be divided into several sections, the map archiver should be compressed, or extra pages should be removed.
  • A sitemap’s ideal size shouldn’t go beyond 50 MB. If the volume is larger, it must be reduced.
  • Any problems and test pages are not included in the sitemap. The file must be thoroughly inspected for junk.

Establishing a Sitemap

There are several techniques used to construct a sitemap:

creating sitemap
  • Content Management System (CMS). These programs include Wix and WordPress. These systems are used to generate an accessible sitemap. You should check the possibilities of the map being generated automatically.
  • By hand. When the site is small, the map is produced internally using a special editor. This strategy is labor-intensive when dealing with large sites.
  • With the help of services. Use services provided by other parties, like MySitemapGenerator.

XML Sitemap for Images

You must make sure that photos are appropriately indexed when using a Sitemap. You may either make a unique map just for photos or give links to images within the map. You can specify two major tags for images: image:image> (picture details) and image:loc> (file location).

Basic guidelines for images are:

– UTF-8 encoding;

– Open access for indexing;

– The maximum number of images per URL is 1000;

– A link to the XML map should be placed in the robots.txt file;

– Regular automatic updating of XML Sitemap file for images is provided.

Sitemap File for Video

The following guidelines must be followed while working with Sitemap files:

  • Make a special video-only map.
  • Multiple videos on the same page are allowed.
  • Clips that are unrelated to the remaining content should not be included.
  • File entries are made up of obligatory, suggested, and optional values (optional may contain additional metadata).
  • Informative text on the video page can be used by Google instead of the description in the Sitemap.
  • If videos cannot be located at the provided URL, search bots will disregard this file entry.

The News Sitemap

You need a Sitemap with dynamic generation for news portals. URLs from the previous two days should be included in the file. It’s possible to delete old articles. When posting new information, it is advisable to update the XML Sitemap file often. A map may be included in the news section.


The Sitemap contains crucial data for search engine algorithms, such as a list of URLs, information on the content type, images, and videos. Although it is not necessary for search engine optimization, issues might still arise if it is not there. The map aids in the efficient crawling of sites by search engine crawlers. A site map is crucial for commercial resources, portals with a complex structure or constantly updated information. The quality of the pages in the Sitemap is something you should consider. The authority of the link is diminished by low-quality pages on the map.

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    Alexander Tarakhovich

    SEO expert with extensive experience. Helping you understand SEO. He takes the guesswork out of SEO, his advice in optimizations are based on what actually works. Alexander is currently working to make SEO known and accessible worldwide. Read Blog