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An XML sitemap is a list of your web pages in an XML format, which search engines can easily recognize and index. An XML sitemAP is a means for site owners to tell search spiders about all of the web pages on their site. This is very helpful for search engine ranking. If you don't have a custom-built XML Sitemap, there are several different ones that you can use. Some are even free.
There are two main ways to create an XML Sitemap; one is to use an external service that provides it for free, and the other is to configure internal tab pages in your hosting package. External solutions are generally recommended because you can use the same tool every time, whereas setting up internal XML sitemaps is not easy. But both solutions have their advantages and disadvantages.
External programs that provide an XML sitemap for you can be downloaded into any web directory. These can either be downloaded as zipped files, or you can install them as a "read-only" file using your FTP program (this is more secure). Once you have them installed, you will need to configure your hosting package to enable it in your default search console tab. Then, right-click on the XML Sitemap icon in the Search Engine Results Panel and select "enable". Or, if you're using a No Crawl installation method, you'll need to open up the "Add DNS" page, then enter "126.96.36.199" as the IP address.
Now let's say that you want to create a brand new website with no previous SEO experiences. You'd probably want to go with an external solution to set up the proper XML Sitemap. For example, you could use Google's Webmaster Tools application to preview what your site will look like with the correct tags enabled. You can also utilize third-party tools such as Google Page Rank to see how your new website will rank in major search engines. Just search for any of those two popular search engines for " XML Sitemap", and you should get several results.
So what exactly is an XML Sitemap?
Well, you can think of it as a navigation tool within your search engine profile. It lists down all of the relevant links that exist for your domain. Each link is hyperlinked, so you know exactly where to take your user to. Links can be listed according to categories, or you can create a basic page map instead. The latter is recommended if you have less specific requirements on how the search engine will list your pages.
The most significant advantage to using XML Sitemaps is that they provide you with better categorization. When you use HTML sitemaps, you would have to guess what each link is for, leading to unnecessary delays and even errors. If you were to specify categories manually, you could be in for a lot of work. However, with advanced XML Sitemap configuration options, you can get better crawl rate statistics, which can help you tweak your websites for better SEO results.
XML Sitemap generators are not only meant to speed up your indexing process. Some of the more advanced features include mind node creation and catalogue viewing. Mind node creation is a feature that allows you to make sub-categories easier to manage. You can also view your site map to see where your pages are located within your XML Sitemap.
XML Sitemap configuration options also allow you to define the behaviour of your links as well. You can create a hierarchy of links so that your users do not have to work too hard to navigate to the sections on your website. You can also define custom behaviour for when certain links should open, such as when a new tab gets opened or when the search bar is pressed. Another helpful feature that can be enabled in your XML Sitemap generator tool is the ability to show/hide header tags. This is useful for internal linking as well as for sorting through web pages.