XML sitemaps and their various types
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all content within your website so that Google can easily find them and crawl them.
Since it may take time for search engine crawlers to trace content within your website due to the huge amount of content available online, XML sitemaps come in handy and tend to inform the crawlers on what to look into, in your site.
Having an XML sitemap does not however guarantee that your site will be crawled and indexed by search engines. Instead, by creating and submitting an XML sitemap, you are hinting to search engines that you consider the content in the XML sitemap as being of great quality worthy of crawling and indexation.
XML sitemaps are in a readable format. Below is a sample illustration of an XML sitemap:
Parts of an XML SiteMap
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″ xmlns:xsi=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance” xsi:schemaLocation=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9 http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9/sitemap.xsd”>
It contains all the URLs in a sitemap and specifies the version of the XML SiteMap standard that is used. In our case here, it’s version 0.9.
Defines the individual URLs.
Within the <url> tags, there are also several properties:
<loc>: This is the location of the URL, in which you direct crawlers to.
<lastmod>: It contains details on when the file was last modified.
<priority>: Informs crawlers which files are of more importance. The value ranges from 0.0 to 1.0, which signifies the priority levels. 1.0 being the highest priority.
<changefreq>: Provides details on how often a file is updated or changed.
Types Of XML Sitemaps
There are a number of XML sitemaps of which include:
Normal XML Sitemaps
These are XML sitemaps that link to different pages of a website.
These are sitemaps on images that help Google in tracing images within your site, as well as featuring them in SERPs.
Similar to Image Sitemaps, video sitemaps help search engines find videos within your site and feature them in SERPs.
Helps articles get featured in the News section of SERPs.