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Some Uses of the Sitemap That you May not Know

I want to write about some aspects that we find in our day to day with the Sitemaps and the solutions that we choose depending on our website, volume and status.

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Uses of the Sitemap

I want to write about some aspects that we find in our day to day with the Sitemaps and the solutions that we choose depending on our website, volume and status.

What is the Sitemap?

The Sitemap is a file that serves to indicate to any search engine (in this case Google) the URLs of a Web project, so that the robots can more efficiently track the project. In addition the sitemap also assures you that the robots will collect that information before, the use they make of it already depends on other factors that I will tell throughout this article.

Formats in which we can generate a Sitemap:

  • XML: This is the most used and the one I recommend using. Most plugins, modules and extensions used by content managers such as WordPress, Prestashop or magento use this format.
  • RSS: If you have a generated feed that automates the upload of new content, you can include it as a sitemap, but beware that most feeds forget many old pages that have not been generated automatically.
  • Text Document: You can also include .txt files for the generation of your Sitemap. Of course, you must include one URL per line.
  • Google Sites: Another way to create your Sitemap that I do not recommend, but Google allows its use.

Some points that you should keep in mind when creating a Sitemap.xml:

  • Do not include URLs with Noindex in the Sitemap
  • Do not include in the Sitemap URLs that do not respond to a code 200
  • Do not include canonical URLs in the Sitemap

Errors when generating Sitemaps

Find below some errors made while creating your sitemap.xml:

  • Including URLs that respond to codes 301.
  • Including URLs that respond 404.
  • Including URLs that have the canonical pointing to another URL.
  • Including URLs blocked by Robots.txt.

To verify that nothing is happening to you in a project, it is very simple, you only need the Project Sitemap and Screaming Frog. I explain the process in several steps:

  • STEP 1: Download the Sitemap file to be able to work with the document.
  • STEP 2: Start Screaming Frog >> Mode >> List >> Upload List >> from a file >> select Sitemap xml. With this you will be able to upload your Sitemap to analyze it in depth and remove any errors it may generate.
  • STEP 3: Identify the errors and generate a correct Sitemap. With this you will get an important tracking improvement. Depending on the status of your Sitemap this tracking improvement can make your project start to improve positions.

When should you perform this check?

In general I will list some situations where this check is very important, as well as the generation of a new sitemap that makes the google robot check more intelligently through your Site:

  • If you have implemented the famous HTTPS on your page, then it is a crucial moment to check your Sitemap and you will see the amount of 3xx that you will find.
  • If you have recently made a migration or changes in URLs. You will find surprises type: 301 and 404 xD.
  • If you like to play with Noindex or you are using a plugin to generate your Sitemap, you will surely find URLs with noindex that you are including in the Sitemap.
  • If you really like the use of “canonical” you will surely find unpleasant surprises in your Sitemap.

Advanced uses of the Sitemap

The sitemap has different uses.

Accelerate the de-indexing of a large number of URLs thanks to the Sitemap

We have a number of unnecessary URLs that we want to de-index. Imagine that they are hundreds or thousands. You can not wait for Google to go through each and every one according to its tracking frequency.

To accelerate this process of de-indexing a large number of URLs, we have to generate a Sitemap including all the URLs that we already have with noindex and upload them to Search Console.

Afterwards, we take all those URLs and verify that they have been de-indexed using URL Profiler. Insert all the URLs and select the “Google Indexation” option.

Once they are de-indexed we remove the Sitemap from Search Console.

Create a Sitemap to remove URLs faster

This scenario appears in many ecommerce! Imagine that you have an ecommerce and you work with seasons of products and suddenly you have to eliminate different categories and products for different reasons. When this happens there are several options to check:

  • No URL has external links that are giving authority.
  • The organic traffic of those URLs, because if I have some URLs with traffic in any case I would eliminate them.
  • There are no similar products, because if there were and we had traffic to those URLs we could execute a 301.

Something very common within the electronic stores are the redirections to other sections of the web, in the previous points I have already commented what you have to check before making decisions. The problem of doing redirects without common sense and without analyzing is that they will generate 404 Soft codes and as you continue with this practice your Search Console will flood with them.

If you have already decided that you have to eliminate these URLs because they have no external links or traffic that provide authority, and those URLs will no longer exist. You have to make those URLs return a 410 code.

Create a Sitemap with all the URLs that answer 410. Remember that you can create it with this free tool.

Take all those URLs and verify that they have been de-indexed using the URL Profiler.

Insert all the URLs and select the “Google Indexation” option.

Once they are de-indexed we remove the Sitemap from Search Console.

FInd more detailed information in this tutorial:

Conclusions

As you have seen throughout the article, the Sitemap has many uses and you can get much out of it.

If you often check the Sitemap, pay attention to it and use the advanced aspects that you can find within this post, depending on the cases, it will help you to improve the tracking of your page.

I would like to know the uses that you give to the Sitemap and be able to get more ideas to use this file more efficiently and get more out of it. Feel free to comment your your uses and impressions?

 

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