If you have installed an SEO plugin like All in one SEO Pack or Yoast SEO you probably already have an XML sitemap but do you have it? configured correctly? Not only do we have to create an XML sitemap from our website, and add it to the Search Console and to Tools for Webmasters of Bing we also have to configure it well.
What is the XML Sitemap and what is it for?
Search engines will not be guided exclusively by the information given in the XML Sitemap but it is your first map to your web, they will take into account your indications, will always benefit you and it will never hurt you to have it that's for sure.
So create a Sitemap XML is the first line of attack for the correct indexing in the SERP of the search engines, and configuring it properly is a fundamental task for any web administrator, but the default settings of the plugins are that, by default, and not they adapt to all existing webs.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin you can only configure what type of content will be added to the XML sitemap without being able to determine more important settings, so we will concentrate on the aj You are available in All in one SEO Pack practically the same as you will find the fantastic (but heavy) plugin Google XML Sitemaps which do allow you to configure an XML sitemap with precision
What to include in the XML Sitemap
In the sitemap you must include all the URLs in which there is content related to the theme of your website and that offer unique, valuable information and relevant for readers and, logically, also for search engines.
So, as a starting rule, the XML Sitemap should always include :
- The cover of your website most importantly, the gateway to your site.
- Pages : your invariable and unique content that it defines you and explains what you are, what you do, what you offer, what are your values?
- Entries : your periodicals, in which you offer valuable information to visitors to your website about the content of your sector or business.
- Taxonomies : those that serve organize and rank your content, such as labels and categories.
Also, depending on the orientation and segment of your website, the XML Sitemap can include :
- Videos : indicating the duration, content category and audience classification
- Images / Attachments : specifying the metadata that identifies them
- Mobile content : especially if you offer special pages for old mobiles, but also if you have defined a precise mobile strategy.
- Topics in the forums if you had them.
- Custom content types such as projects, portfolios, etc., if they are relevant to your topic and SEO strategy.
- Author files necessary for Google's authoring algorithms.
Additionally, if there are URLs that you want to add to the Sitemap and you have not generated them with WordPress the plugin allows you to add them manually and configure their parameters.
What NOT to include in the XML Sitemap
It will depend a lot on your content strategy but as a starting rule the XML Sitemap should not include:
- URLs with duplicate content.
- URLs of attachment pages automatically generated by WordPress.
- Membership URLs.
- Files by date.
- Taxonomies self-generated by the theme or plugins that do not offer organization or content hierarchy.
Update frequency of the XML Sitemap
An important parameter, that the search engines will value, will be the frequency with which your URLs are updated. The plugins that allow you to configure these values offer you the following values:
- Do not overwrite : Which will use the default values of the plugin. The default settings are usually for blogs so as a rule do not ever leave it like this.
- Always (always): Ask the crawlers to visit your URLs as often as possible, every minute if possible. Configuration suitable for sites with many news that are updated very often, such as digital newspapers of the first order.
- Every hour (hourly): You want the bots to visit you every hour. Suitable for news sites that publish new content several times a day.
- Every day (daily): To be visited once a day, ideal for blogs that post a daily entry as much.
- Each week (weekly): If you update the blog from time to time it is a good configuration.
- Every month (monthly): Typical for static websites without a news section or blog, for crawlers to check if Every year (yearly): For exclusively static websites and landing pages ( landing pages ) that never change, but that you want Google to remember that exist.
And now the usual doubt arises what frequency do I assign to each type of URL? Of course, you want the search engines to visit you the more the better. However, many visits from the trackers does not mean that they will position you better in the SERPs.
In fact, the algorithms of crawlers could " think " that you cheat them if you make marks, for example, a frequency always and do not update anything from your content never or you do it very infrequently.
The rule that you should always apply with the search engines is not to lie to them or try to cheat them because they will catch you and they will penalize you if you generate a consumption of their resources inadequate to the result they will obtain. Google and Microsoft are million-dollar companies but they did not get rich by being fooled, and they are very jealous of the money they use to manage their tools.
I always recommend the universal rule of … " It makes life easier for search engines and you reward, complícales the task and you will be penalized . "
With this in mind, you must assign a frequency appropriate to the reality of each type of URL that you include in the XML Sitemap, being honest with your settings.
For a blog like WordPress Help a suitable configuration would be More or less like this:
- Portada : always because I publish every day, sometimes several times, and in many occasions I modify titles and extracts of the entries, with what what appears on the cover You can change . Also valid would be the value hourly .
- Entries : hourly for the same reason above, since it is quite usual to modify entries once published, to correct errors, add links, provide more content that comes up with the conversation with readers in the comments.
- Taxonomies : as they show the file of the entries should be the same parameter you use for them, in the example that we are following hourly .
- Pages : daily | weekly | monthly | yearly any of these values, it will depend a lot on how often you modify the information of your pages. When in doubt put the same frequency as for entries, although a reasonable value, even ambitious, would be daily .
- Author pages : the same frequency that you establish for taxonomies, being a file of entries.
Above all, keep in mind what we are talking about, how often the URL is updated, how often it shows new or updated information.
So you must clearly distinguish the archival pages, like the cover page and taxonomies, of the entries and pages. The first ones will be updated whenever there is new content, the second ones only when you modify them independently. Keep this in mind when defining frequencies.
XML Sitemap Priorities
One parameter of great relevance is the priority we assign to each URL in our Sitemap. The available settings come in numeric format of type: 1.0, 0.9, 0.8, and so on up to 0.0, and always include the option Do not overwrite to use the plugin's default values.
Although the value is of this type then it will be displayed in the XML Sitemap as 100%, 90%, 80% and so on.
This is translated in which we are going to tell search engines what percentage value each URL of our website has in SEO of our entire site, that's nothing.
Come on, you have to decide what value has on the total weight of the positioning of your website each type of content or file difficult decision where they are or not?
My advice is that always, always, assign the value 1.0 (100% ) to the cover as a fundamental element of the SEO of your website (normally) since it contains the eta title main and the most relevant and up-to-date information on your site.
For the pages you must apply the value 9.0 (90%) as they must always contain absolutely relevant information about what What are you offering?
If, in addition, you publish entries with valuable content, that you use to reinforce your positioning you assign them also the value 1.0 (100%) or as little 0.9 (90 %) or 0.8 (80%) since the search engines feed mainly on relevant and updated content.
From here there is no fixed rule apart from not assigning very high values to the rest of the URLs except specific strategy on some type of content (video, images, etc.) basically so that they do not compete with your main URLs (cover, pages, entries).
Basically, what you are saying to Google and Bing is where you publish your most relevant content with your theme which you prefer to position in front of other URLs in case of doubts or need of saving of resources.
More parameters to take into account in the XML Sitemap
, our beloved WordPress plugins also offer us other interesting parameters to configure, and the main ones are the following:
- Create a compressed XML sitemap (gzip) : Believe it always, in fact the crawlers read them more faster than standard.
- Notify Google and Bing : Here the plugin sends a ping to the crawlers when your sitemap is updated so they can see what has changed. I think it goes without saying that you always activate it.
- Generate the XML sitemap dynamically when you publish new content: Do I really need to tell you whether to activate it or not? Ok, yes.
- Schedule updating of the XML sitemap : This is in case you want to specify a specific time in which to update your sitemap. This is because the creation of the sitemap, on websites with many URLs (thousands), can consume many resources of your server, and it may be better to choose certain hours to avoid slowing down your website if you do not have a powerful server. If you use it you must disable the automatic update when you publish new content, for obvious reasons.
- Prefix of the site map : By default the prefix is sitemap so your XML sitemap will be will call sitemap.xml . You should only change it if there is a conflict with another sitemap
- Create indexes of the site map : If you activate this the sitemap will not initially show all your URLs, but it will be a kind of menu with links to other sitemaps , organized by type of content (pages, entries, taxonomies, etc.), in which the URLs of each container will be. You must not activate it unless your website contains so many URLs (the rule is that does not contain more than 50,000 URLs and does not weigh more than 10 Mb ) that slows down too much the visualization of the sitemap ( Note: the plugin Yoast SEO creates the sitemap with indexes by default, without the possibility of changing ). What has been said, ideally, unless you have many URLs, is to display it directly, without indexes, to facilitate browsing and indexing the crawlers, without having them visit several URLs to see the structure of your website. If you need to create the index the plugin All in One SEO Pack creates it with links to the compressed sitemaps of each type of content, much more efficient and fast loading for crawlers.
- Add link to the virtual robots.txt file ]: WordPress always offers a robots.txt virtual file. If you are going to create a file robots.txt own (with All in one SEO Pack you can do it easily) do not activate this box, especially if both are going to be in the same route, usually in the root folder of the site . If you are not going to create your own file activate it, it is better than nothing.
- Add sitemap in HTML format : The Google XML Sitemaps plugin offers you this option, but it is not necessary. The normal xml Sitemap offers the necessary, basic styles for the crawlers to read them correctly.
- Change the sitemap route : Another setting that allows the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, very useful if not the root folder of your site does not have writing permission, allowing you to save the sitemap in any other folder.
If it has there is some doubt put in the comments and we all solve it.
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