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Sitemap | Why and How To Inside Web

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.

Also, your sitemap can provide valuable metadata associated with the pages you list in that sitemap: Metadata is information about a web page, such as when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and the importance of the page relative to other URLs on the site.

You can use a sitemap to provide Google with metadata about specific types of content on your pages, including video, image, and mobile content. For example, you can give Google the information about video and image content:

A sitemap video entry can specify the video running time, category, and age appropriateness rating.
A sitemap image entry can include the image subject matter, type, and license.

Do You need a sitemap?

If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap can improve the crawling of your site, particularly if your site meets one of the following criteria:

Your site is really large. As a result, it’s more likely Google web crawlers might overlook crawling some of your new or recently updated pages.

Your site has a large archive of content pages that are isolated or well not linked to each other. If you site pages do not naturally reference each other, you can list them in a sitemap to ensure that Google does not overlook some of your pages.

Your site is new and has few external links to it. Googlebot and other web crawlers crawl the web by following links from one page to another. As a result, Google might not discover your pages if no other sites link to them.

Your site uses rich media content, is shown in Google News, or uses other sitemaps-compatible annotations. Google can take additional information from sitemaps into account for search, where appropriate.

Build and submit a sitemap

Build and submit a sitemap:

  1. Decide which pages on your site should be crawled by Google, and determine the canonical version of each page.
  2. Decide which sitemap format you want to use. You can create your sitemap manually or choose from a number of third-party tools to generate your sitemap for you.
  3. Test your sitemap using the Search Console Sitemaps testing tool.
  4. Make your sitemap available to Google by adding it to your robots.txt file and submitting it to Search Console.

General sitemap guidelines

  • Use consistent, fully-qualified URLs. Google will crawl your URLs exactly as listed. For instance, if your site is at, don’t specify a URL as / (without the www) or ./mypage.html (a relative URL).
  • Don’t include session IDs from URLs in your sitemap to reduce duplicate crawling of those URLs.
  • Point out translated versions of a URL to Google for crawling and indexing by listing the canonical URLs for each language in your sitemap file and by using hreflang annotations.
  • Sitemap files must be UTF-8 encoded, and URLs escaped appropriately.
  • Break up large sitemaps into a smaller sitemaps to prevent your server from being overloaded if Google requests your sitemap frequently. A sitemap file can’t contain more than 50,000 URLs and must be no larger than 10 MB uncompressed.
  • Use a sitemap index file to list all your sitemaps and submit this single file to Google rather than submitting individual sitemaps.
  • Use recommended canonicalization methods to tell Google if your site is accessible on both the www and non-www versions of your domain. You need to submit a sitemap for only your preferred domain.
  • Familiarize yourself with our Webmaster Guidelines, and our SEO Starter Guide if you’re considering hiring a consultant to help you optimize your sitemaps. It can also be useful to check with colleagues with similar sites or businesses to get the most of your sitemap.
  • Non-alphanumeric and non-latin characters. We require your Sitemap file to be UTF-8 encoded (you can generally do this when you save the file). As with all XML files, any data values (including URLs) must use entity escape codes for the characters listed in the table below.  A sitemap can contain only ASCII characters; it can’t contain upper ASCII characters or certain control codes or special characters such as * and {}. If your Sitemap URL contains these characters, you’ll receive an error when you try to add it.
    Character Escape Code
    Ampersand & &
    Single Quote '
    Double Quote "
    Greater Than > >
    Less Than < &lt;

    In addition, all URLs (including the URL of your Sitemap) must be encoded for readability by the web server on which they are located and URL-escaped. However, if you are using any sort of script, tool, or log file to generate your URLs (anything except typing them in by hand), this is usually already done for you. If you submit your Sitemap and you receive an error that Google is unable to find some of your URLs, check to make sure that your URLs follow the RFC-3986 standard for URIs, the RFC-3987 standard for IRIs, and the XML standard.

    Here is an example of a URL that uses a non-ASCII character (ü), as well as a character that requires entity escaping (&):ümlat.html&q=name
    Here is that same URL, ISO-8859-1 encoded (for hosting on a server that uses that encoding) and URL escaped:
    Here is that same URL, UTF-8 encoded (for hosting on a server that uses that encoding) and URL escaped:
    Here is that same URL, entity escaped:;q=name

Sitemap extensions for additional media types

Google supports extended sitemap syntax for the following media types. Use these extensions to describe video files, images, and other hard-to-parse content on your site to improve indexing.

Make your sitemap available to Google (Submit your sitemap to Google)

There are two different ways to make your sitemap available to Google:



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