You need Google to crawl all your web pages so that you can rank in the Google Search Results.
But how can Google crawl all the pages on your website unless you provide an easy way to do so?
Te easy way I am talking about is XML Sitemaps on websites!
What is an XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a list of all the important pages and posts of your website which makes sure that Google or any other search engine can find and crawl them easily.
This helps Google in understanding the structure of your website easily and crawl them efficiently thus helping sitemaps in SEO.
I always recommend to use the sitemap created by Yoast SEO.
You can use any other sitemaps tool to create or generate sitemaps on websites.
In the image above, growurblog.com XML sitemap shows several ‘index’ sitemaps like post-sitemap.xml, page-sitemap, testimonial-sitemap, etc.
This makes a site’s structure very clear to search engines.
If you click on one of the index sitemaps, you’ll see all URLs in that particular sitemap.
You’ll also notice a date at the end of each line. This tells Google when each post was last updated. This allows Google to crawl your content as soon as it is updated.
When a date changes in the XML sitemap, Google knows there is new content to crawl and index
According to Google’s documentation, XML sitemaps are beneficial for “really large websites”, for “websites with large archives”, for “new websites with just a few external links to it” and for “websites which use rich media content”.
Pages in Sitemaps on websites.
Before starting, you must think of the pages that should be included in the sitemap?
If you think that a page on your website offers no value to the person who visits your website, you should not include it in the sitemap. If you don’t want that URL to show up in the search results you’ll need to add a ‘noindex, follow’ tag.
Let us understand why you need to exclude some of the web pages of your website and what is noindex tag
Why you should Exclude Certain Web Pages From Search Results
There are a few reasons as to why you should exclude certain web pages from search results.
Firstly, if you want to avoid duplicate content which means that when there is more than one version of a page indexed by the search engines, you should exclude it from search results by adding a ‘no-index tag’.
Also pages like tags, categories won’t serve any purpose for a new blog or website(with less number of pages) and you should avoid them being indexed.
What is a ‘noindex’ tag?
When you add a “noindex” metatag to a webpage, it tells a search engine that even though it can crawl the page, it cannot add the page into its search index thus avoiding your webpages to appear on results.
You can also add a ‘nofollow’ tag to disallows search engines from crawling the links on that page.
How to Add a “noindex” tag?
Step 1: Navigate to the <head> section of your page html.
Step 2: Add the following tag under the <head> section of that page before the </head> line.
CODE : <META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex”>
Also, if you want to add a ‘nofollow’ tag, you can add the following code:
CODE: <META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”nofollow”>
(You can find the head section under the source code of the web page you are trying to exclude from the search results.)
How to make Google find your sitemap?
After creating sitemap, you would want Google to find it easily.
For that, you have to add it to the Google Search Console (Formerly known as Google Webmasters Tool)
To do that, navigate to Google Search Console and navigate to sitemaps in the left hand bar.
Here you can add the sitemap you created using Yoast SEO.
You can also check whether all pages in your sitemap really have been indexed by Google or not using this feature.
How to create a sitemap for your website?
Yoast SEO plugin offers a way to easily create a website sitemap as they are very important from an SEO perspective. They are available in both the free and premium versions of the plugin.
Yoast SEO creates an XML sitemap for your website automatically.
To view and add them to Google Search console, follow the steps –
1st Step: Click on ‘SEO’ in the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard.
2nd Step: Go to the ‘General’ tab and select the ‘Features’ tab on the topbar.
3rd Step: Click on the question mark beside “XML sitemaps” and select “see the XML Sitemap” option to view them.
4th Step: copy the URL of that web page and paste it in the Search Console (paste only the rear part after the domain).
In this way you can create a Sitemap for your website and help Google in ranking it without any difficulties.
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