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What is a Sitemap.xml?

A Sitemap.xml is not the same thing as what you probably think of when you hear the wird “sitemap.”  A Sitemap file (using the capital S) is an XML-encoded listing of the key content files within a website that are built specifically for search engine crawlers to use as data. This stands in contrast to a traditional sitemap file (lower-case s) that is an HTML file that lists the content files within a site for human users to find the content they’re looking for in a site. The key difference is the intended audience (search engine vs. human) and the code.

Search engines use Sitemaps.xml to learn about a website and it’s structure. That means that if a Sitemap uses well-formed XML code, with clean and valid URLs in addition to meeting the other requirements of search engines, the URLs it contains will be considered by search engines for future crawling activity.

Really all you need to know is this simple formula: clean Sitemap.xml= happy robots= website indexed in search results. While well-executed Sitemaps are always good for websites to have, they are especially essential for the following websites:

  • New websites
  • Sites that use dynamic URLs for their content pages
  • Sites with unorganized archived content

Why Sitemap.xml Matters

Though hopefully you have a skilled webmaster, it is important for website owners to understand the basics Sitemaps.xml to ensure their website is SEO-friendly and as user-friendly to both humans and search engines alike. Afterall, search engines eat well-organized and indexed web content like food. The proper use of Sitemaps ensure your website works just as good as it looks.

Now What?

So now that you have a better understanding of Sitemaps, you may be motivated to get your website in shape, but the next question is, how? You can either hire a webmaster to do this for you, or you can use Inbound Brew’s free  Sitemap.xml Management system to help you along the way. Inbound Brew not only indiciate the type of sitemap (ie. RSS feed, Atom feed, text file, etc) but also give you information about the types of content on your site and the number of URLS that have been indexed by search engines. These systems will also notify you of errors relating to each sitemap you have previously submitted.

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