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You want Google to crawl every important page of your website. But sometimes, pages end up without any internal links pointing to them, making them hard to find. An XML sitemap lists a website’s important pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all, also helping it understand your website structure.
XML sitemap shows several ‘index’ sitemaps:
video-sitemap.xml etc. This categorization makes a site’s structure as clear as possible. So if you click on one of the index sitemaps, you’ll see all URLs in that particular sitemap. For example, if you click on
post-sitemap.xml you’ll see all the post URLs
This tells Google when each post was last updated and helps with SEO because you want Google to crawl your updated content as soon as possible. When a date changes in the XML sitemap, Google knows there is new content to crawl and index.
If you have a very large website, sometimes it’s necessary to split an index sitemap. A single XML sitemap is limited to 50,000 URLs, so if your website has more than 50,000 posts, for example, you’ll need two separate ones for the post URLs, effectively adding a second index sitemap.
Google’s documentation says XML sitemaps are beneficial for “really large websites”, for “websites with large archives”, for “new websites with just a few external links to it” and for “websites which use rich media content”.
While we agree that these kinds of websites will definitely benefit the most from having one, But every single website needs Google to be able to easily find the most important pages and to know when they’re last updated.
How do you decide which pages to include in your XML sitemap? Always start by thinking of the relevance of a URL: when a visitor lands on a particular URL, is it a good result? Do you want visitors to land on that URL? If not, it probably shouldn’t be in it. However, if you really don’t want that URL to show up in the search results you’ll need to add a ‘noindex, follow’ tag. Leaving it out of your XML sitemap doesn’t mean Google won’t index the URL. If Google can find it by following links, Google can index the URL.