In this article, we explain how to optimize XML Sitemaps with13 SEO best practices. Also, we explain the most significant tips you must know to make and optimize your sitemap as per the best practices of search engines and visitors alike.
1) Use Tools & Plugins to Generate Your Sitemap Automatically
Making a sitemap is cool when you have the correct tools, same as auditing software through a built-in XML Sitemap generator or common plugins like Google XML Sitemaps.
Otherwise, you can manually make a sitemap by subsequent XML sitemap code structure. Precisely, your sitemap doesn’t even need to be in XML format — a text file with a different line splitting each URL will suffice.
Still, you will need to make a comprehensive XML sitemap if you wish to implement the hreflang quality, so it’s much easier only to let a tool do the effort for you.
2) Submit Sitemap to Google
You can get quick assistance by submitting your sitemap to Google from your Google Search Console. From your dashboard, click Crawl > Sitemaps > Add Test Sitemap.
Test your sitemap and observe the results before you click Submit Sitemap to analyze for faults that may stop key landing web pages from being indexed.
Ideally, you wish the number of pages indexed to be similar to the number of pages submitted by you.
3) Rank High-Quality Pages in Your Sitemap
Whenever it comes to ranking, overall site quality including performance is a key factor.
If your sitemap leads bots to Hundreds of low-quality pages, search engines understand these pages as a sign that your website is probably not one visitors will want to visit — even if the pages are essential for your site, such as login pages.
Instead, try to direct bots to the most significant pages on your site. Preferably, these are pages that are:
- Highly optimized pages
- Comprise images and video.
- Include lots of unique content
- Rapid user engagement via comments and reviews
4) Isolate Indexation Issues
Google Search Console can be a bit annoying if it doesn’t index all of your web pages just because it doesn’t tell you which pages are difficult.
For instance, if you submit 20K pages and only 15K of those are indexed, you won’t be expressed what the 5K “problematic pages” are.
This is particularly true of big e-commerce websites that have numerous pages for very same products.
SEO Consultant Michael Cottam has stated a useful guide for separating problematic pages. He indorses splitting product web pages into different XML sitemaps and checking each of them.
Make sitemaps that will confirm hypotheses, such as “webpages that don’t have product images aren’t getting indexed” or “pages without exclusive copy aren’t being indexed.”
When you’ve isolated the main issues, you can either make effort to fix the issues or set those pages to “no index,” so they don’t reduce your total site quality with performance.
5) Involve Just Canonical Versions of URLs in Your Sitemap
When you have numerous web pages that are very similar, such as specific product pages for various colors of the same product, you may use the “link rel=canonical” tag to inform Google which page is the “core” page they should crawl and index.
Bots have an easier time determining key pages if you don’t involve pages with canonical URLs pointing at other webpages.
6) Use Robots Meta Tag over Robots.txt When Possible
When you don’t wish a page to be indexed, you usually wish to use the Meta robots “noindex, follow” tag.
This Stops Google from indexing the page but it conserves your link impartiality, and it’s particularly useful for utility pages that are significant to your site but shouldn’t be showing up in search results.