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Advanced SEO through multiple XML sitemaps

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A tutorial on XML sitemaps and the benefits of creating multiple XML Sitemaps for SEO.

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Advanced SEO through multiple XML sitemaps

  1. 1. ADVANCED SEO THROUGH MULTIPLE XML SITEMAPS BY LAURENT MÜLLENDER, 2016
  2. 2. According to Google , a (XML) sitemap is „a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. Also, your sitemap can provide valuable metadata associated with the pages you list in that sitemap: Metadata is information about a webpage, such as when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and the importance of the page relative to other URLs in the site.“ You can have specific sitemaps for videos or pictures that also include meta data (running time, topic, license,..) of your content. It also helps the Googlebot index pages which are not easy to find like when no other sites link to them or if you have a really large site. It helps avoid overlooking of pages by the crawler. Overall it supports indexing of your site and it‘s a way to tell Google more about your site and content. Note: A sitemap does not affect the actual ranking of your pages. However, it helps get more of your site crawled and it is good practice to use them. WHAT IS A SITEMAP?
  3. 3. A XML sitemap has the following structure: For each URL you specify the location, the last modified date, the change frequency and the priority you see for that URL compared to the other URLs of your site (does not mean indexing or crawling priority!). Please note that „priority” and “change frequency” doesn’t really play that much of a role with Sitemaps for Google anymore. What you should not include in a sitemap are pages that you do not want to have indexed (check noindex status and your robots.txt file), pages that are redirected (301), non existent (404) and those that have a canonical to another URL. Full protocol here: http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html BASIC STRUCTURE OF A XML SITEMAP
  4. 4. For various reasons you might want to have several sitemaps. You can place all sitemaps in a single directory or sub-directory. Root directory is recommended. Each sitemap needs to have separate and unique URLs. Example: The sitemap of a subdirectory should only contain URLs of that subdirectory and none from the parent directory. For easier management, you can also reference your sitemaps in a sitemap index file (sitemap_index.xml). Advantage: you can submit them all at once by adding the Index file to your Google Webmaster Tools account (Search console). Notes: You can submit up to 500 sitemap index files for each site in your account. Index files cannot contain other index files. You need to submit each index file separately. Google has no preference with regards to single or multiple sitemap files. MANAGEMENT OF MULTIPLE SITEMAP FILES.
  5. 5. 1. Better management & organization Generally speaking, multiple sitemaps will allow you to better organize and manage your URL submissions, especially when grouped in one index sitemap file. 2. Large Sites The maximum number of URLs per sitemap is limited to 50.000 and the maximum file size is 10 Mb. So due to that constraint you might need to split your sitemap file in multiple files. 3. Monitor Indexing and Errors The Sitemaps Report within Google Webmaster Tools is a good source for finding indexing errors and a better diagnostic tool then „site:“ Especially if you have a large site, you can identify errors easier when your sitemaps are splitted. -To see if link juice is passed properly, you can create sitemaps per navigation/site depth. -To see how certain site categories/sections or new pages are being indexed, create separate sitemaps for those. BENEFITS OF MULTIPLE SITEMAPS
  6. 6. 4. Management of site sections Suppose you have different stores or local versions under one URL. It would be handy to organize those in different sitemap files. http://www.example.com/section_1_sitemap.xml http://www.example.com/section_2_sitemap.xml http://www.example.com/section_3_sitemap.xml 5. Different content updates and priorities For management and optimization reasons, you might want to separate URLs based on update frequency and priority. Examples: -Create a sitemap for rather static content URLs (less time-sensitive) and a sitemap for content URLs that change frequently like offers or auctions. -Create a sitemap for top performer product pages . BENEFITS OF MULTIPLE SITEMAPS
  7. 7. 6. Different content types This is not about several sitemaps of the same type, but several types of sitemaps that you can generate. Google lets you create different types of sitemaps for different types of content: Mobile / Feature phone News Video Images Each sitemap has its own syntax and rules (e.g. you must first register with Google News before the News Sitemap is processed) Note: You do not need to split the sitemaps, even for different content types. Actually, Google accepts a single sitemap file with different content types. It depends on your particular situation if you prefer to split or not. BENEFITS OF MULTIPLE SITEMAPS
  8. 8. 6. Different content types Here‘s an example of an image sitemap. Using this you can increase your search engine reach by increasing your chances of being properly indexed in Google image search, tell Google more about your content and index pictures that would normally not be accessible by Google (e.g. embedded via Javascript). Every URL can contain up to 1.000 image tags. You can also add meta information such as caption, geo location, title and image license. BENEFITS OF MULTIPLE SITEMAPS
  9. 9. AUTHOR Laurent Müllender Performance-driven product management and online marketing www.muellender.biz Laurent.muellender@gmail.com
  10. 10. AUTHOR Laurent Müllender Performance-driven product management and online marketing www.muellender.biz Laurent.muellender@gmail.com

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