Your Ultimate Guide to XML Sitemaps: Why They Matter & How to Manage Them
If there is one SEO technique that consistently shows up on everyone's site optimization checklists, it's XML Sitemaps. They're certainly not a new SEO technique, but they are often misconfigured or forgotten completely - both of which can leave a site severely handicapped.
That's where this guide comes into play. It's going to dig into the geeky details of this must do SEO practice.
What is an XML Sitemap?
XML Sitemaps are a text based file that function as a very detailed map for search engine spiders to discover content on a website. They are simply a text file with a list of URLs that you can make available to tell a spider what files are on your site.
Sitemaps also make use of metadata to help spiders discover when a file has changed, when new content has been added, as well as to describe rich media content like videos and images. The XML Sitemaps Protocol, which defines the format of all the different types of metadata is available at: www.sitemaps.org.
HTML vs. XML Sitemaps
XML Sitemaps, which were first introduced in 2005 by Google, help search engine robots better crawl websites and be informed of changes to sites quickly. Before the XML sitemap protocol was introduced as a far more robust method, many webmasters used HTML based sitemaps for the same purpose.
The HTML format...