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A sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs of a site in a systematic order. It gives additional information about each URL to the webmasters, such as its last updates, its modification frequencies, and its importance in comparison to other URLs.
An XML sitemap is a text file that contains a list of pages on your site that you prefer Google and other search engines to index. You can think of them as digital maps that help search engines discover important content on your site. They also let search engines know what pages you think are important, how often those pages are changed, and when they were last updated.
All of this helps search engines crawl your site more effectively. I mean, when a new page is added or an old one is deleted, these types of changes can be passed directly to search engines through sitemaps. And all of this actually speeds up the process of indexing your pages. Sitemaps are especially useful if your site has dynamic content, we'll cover that in a bit.
Google's documentation states that sitemaps are especially useful for very large websites. What do we mean by very large websites? If your site has more than 500 pages. For a really small and simple website, I would say it's a judgment call to have a sitemap or not.
If you think you have a very decent and clear link structure, and maybe you can set up custom segments in Google Analytics to track different sections of your site, it may work for you, you can say that, from okay, maybe I don't need a sitemap. But even so, I personally think every website wants Google and other search engines to be able to easily find the most important content on the site.
If you create a sitemap and submit it in your Google Search Console account, you can easily get feedback on the number of indexed pages on your site, for example, if there are pages that are not indexed, you will know it easily and you can immediately take action, and you can find out why it is happening.
When it comes to large websites, I would say having a sitemap is really crucial. Imagine that you have an e-commerce site of a few million pages. I think we can all agree that it is very difficult to build internal links and keep control of internal links to those few million pages. With a sitemap, you can show Google the way to find this important and valuable content on your site. Additionally, you can let Google know about recently updated pages so that it can focus on new content on your site. On top of that, if your website is brand new, for example, and there aren't many links pointing to your site, a sitemap would also be very helpful in showing the way for Google.
Over 25% of Medium posts cannot be found on Google. So my point is if you have a really big website like Medium then you need to properly format your sitemap. Otherwise, you are going to end up with a bunch of URLs which are actually important and valuable, but they are not indexed.
XML Sitemap Generator is a Free SEO Tool used to generate XML Sitemap file instantly for your website. After Creating Sitemap, download and submit to Google Search Console (Google Webmaster tool).
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