Do I Need A Google XML Sitemap For My Website?


What is a xml sitemap and do I need one to ‘seo’ my site for Google?

(The XML Sitemap protocol) has wide adoption, including support from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft

No. You do not need a XML Sitemap to optimise a site for Google, again, if you have a sensible navigation system.

A XML Sitemap is a method by which you can help a search engine, including Google, find & index all the pages on your site. Sometimes useful for very large sites, perhaps if the content chases often, but still not necessary if you have a good navigation system.

  1. Make sure all your pages link to at least one other in your site
  2. Link to your important pages often, with varying anchor text, in the navigation and in page text content

Remember Google needs links to find all the pages on your site.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

I don’t use xml sitemaps that much at all, as I am confident I can get all my pages indexed via links on the website and via RSS feed if I am blogging. I would however suggest you use a ‘website’ sitemap – a list of the important pages on your site.

Some CMS can auto-generate xml sitemaps, and Google does ask you submit a site map in webmaster tools, but I still don’t. If you want to find out more go to http://www.sitemaps.org/

I prefer to manually define my important pages by links, and ‘old – style’ getting my pages indexed via links from other websites. I also recognise not all websites are the same.

You can make a xml site online at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ if you decide they are for you.

I’m certainly no authority on sitemaps – perhaps anyone else with any experience of them can add something…?


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3 Responses

  1. Michael Brandon-SearchMasters says:

    xml sitemaps are good to get the stat – “how many of your pages have been cached by Google out of total pages on your site”. Its a great way of getting Google back into specific changed pages faster than it would otherwise have found them. But xml sitemaps are hard to code – What if you change your footer – How is the last mod date going to be changed via your cms? Many times I consider xml sitemaps can work against people, since by default it may say come back infrequently/last mod never changed… when in fact, people want their new content to be found much quicker. I certainly support your statement that sitemaps don’t mean much – the Google PR and link authority of your site is going to get your site spidered, not your sitemap. Your sitemap will only get spidered as often as your site would normally. And yes, an RSS feed is as much a sitemap as is an xml sitemap – But a rather short one at that.

  2. Singapore SEO says:

    Allow me to clarify the importance of having a sitemap. Firstly there are two types of sitemaps. The first one is a a page where it contains links to your internal pages and the second which is in the format of xml is meant to guide the robot around pages in your site. Why do we need a sitemap? Easy navigation is the answer to it. Easy navigation for human visitors as well as robots. Well if you build your links the right way, you may choose to skip the human sitemap. However, it is best to offer the robot a single xml file where all your important pages, deep links or internal links are located. Imagine you have over 500 pages, do you wish to risk the robot leaving your site and forgotten to crawl or index some pages? Besides creating sitemap is just a click with generators online.

  3. Ayush Kumar says:

    Many times it happens that all of your web pages are not directly interlinked. And many times it happens that some of your webapages miss in your sitemap. In that case XML site map is a good option. Apart from Google search engine, there are other serveral search enginges who uses xml site map.



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