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Search engines crawl the internet to find and index website pages. Over the years, search engines have become sophisticated and crawl efficiently, but they still expect the website to guide them by presenting an index of all the web pages.
When a search engine crawler comes to a website, it checks out the sitemap to locate all the web pages of the site. Using a WordPress Sitemap, the crawlers can index the web pages efficiently and this is the primary reason why sitemaps form the basis of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of any website.
The Importance of Sitemaps
A sitemap is a smart technique for indexing the website quickly. Instead of crawling all the links one-by-one, search engine bots simply go through the URLs listed in the sitemap and index them. During the process, search engine bots pick up essential information about the web pages such as the last update timestamp and the page’s importance.
Sitemaps have no direct impact on your site’s SERP ranking. However, they are essential for indexing your site so that they can be included in the search engine results. In fact, it could be a challenge for new websites to achieve SERP rankings on their own without the support of backlinks.
Another important aspect of implementing sitemaps is to keep the search engines updated with your website’s structure. If you update your website or add a new page, these changes will only reflect in SERP if you have included the changes in the sitemap. Even after this, the changes could only be visible after the next visit of the search engines bots.
Now let’s go ahead and see how it can be created with WordPress.
What is an XML Sitemap?
Traditionally, websites used to have an HTML sitemap. These sitemaps were used by visitors to locate the published web pages quickly. Nowadays, websites use an XML sitemap that search engines find them easier to use than HTML sitemaps.
In simple words, an XML sitemap is just a list of URLs that you want the search engine to know and index for SERP visibility.
The data inside the XML sitemap is useless for humans because of the way data is presented. In the XML sitemap, the URLs are listed inside the tags that define the type of information contained within. This representation of data is useful for search engine bots (such as GoogleBot) because the tag structure allows
This article was written by Ibad Ur Rehman and originally published on The Official Cloudways Blog.