How to create a sitemap xml file

A sitemap.xml file is a file which allows you to tell search engines about URLs are available for crawling. It basically tells the search engine bots where to look for content on your web site.

The Sitemap.xml file helps search engine bots sort through your organization of your website. By submitting a sitemap.xml file, you are basically helping a search engine’s crawler to do a better job of crawling and indexing your web site. Having one is better than not having one!

A Sitemap Index File

You can create multiple sitemap.xml files, however each sitemap.xml file that you provide must have no more than 50,000 URLs and must be no larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes).

Here is a typical set-up of a sitemap.xml index file:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?> <sitemapindex xmlns=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84″> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap_1.xml</loc> <lastmod>2008-05-01</lastmod> </sitemap> <sitemap> <loc>http://www.example.com/sitemap_2s.xml</loc> <lastmod>2008-05-01</lastmod> </sitemap> </sitemapindex>

What the tags in the Sitemap.xml File do!

The URLSET Tag

Encapsulates the file and references the current protocol standard.

The URL Tag

Parent tag for each URL entry. The remaining tags are children of this tag.

The Loc Tag (Location)

This is the URL of the web page. It must be fully qualified URL.

The Change Frequency Tag

This setting indicates how frequently the content at a particular URL is likely to change. It can be set to always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or never.

The Last Modified Tag

The time the URL was last modified. This information allows crawlers to avoid re-crawling documents that haven’t changed. This date should be in W3C Date/Time format.

The Priority Tag

The priority of a particular URL relative to other pages on the same site. The value for this tag is a number between 0.0 and 1.0, where 0.0 identifies the lowest priority page(s) on your site and 1.0 identifies the highest priority page(s) on your site. The default priority of a page is 0.5.

The priority assigned to a web page has no influence on the position of your URLs in a search engine’s result pages. Nor, does assigning a high priority to all of the URLs on your web site will help you.

These are just the basic set-up tips for creating a sitemap.xml index file or a regular sitemap.xml file. For a complete listing of all of the sitemap.xml variables and options, go to http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.php

It’s a great source of information on the actual creation and working samples of sitemap.xml files.




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