Here we are again – Week 24 of the A to Z of #seo :

🅇 for XML Sitemaps

Here’s what you need to know:

➤ Every site of over (approx) 200 pages needs one of these files – but it’s good practice for every site to have one

➤ If you have a big, big site you’ll need more than 1 file

➤ They aren’t meant to be/are easily read by people

➤ XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language” which for you pedants out there could mean the acronym should EML but I guess that was taken 🙂

➤ They are used by Search Engines to crawl and understand your site

➤ They contain a list of your most important pages – strictly speaking not EVERY page on your site (especially if a large one) needs to be listed

➤ The convention is to call this file sitemap and to have a xml extension – engines look for this naming

➤ It normally lives in the root of your site but can go anywhere really – just reference its location in your robots file

➤ Many sites (esp WordPress ones) split pages/posts/categories into their own files and get referenced via a “sitemap index” file

➤ The limit is 50k URLs/pages – beyond that, you’ll need to split it up and create a master/index file – not a problem for most content sites but can be for eCommerce sites.

➤ Make sure your file is clean! Don’t have old/404 pages in it.