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Explain Sitemap with Advantages Disadvantages and their Types

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  • Last Updated : 02 Mar, 2022

A sitemap is a file that lists the pages, videos, and other files on your website, as well as their relationships. Search engines (such as Google, Duckduckgo, Bing, and others) use this file to help them crawl your site more efficiently.

Sitemaps, as the name implies, is a map of your website that displays the structure of your site, its sections, and the links that connect them all on one page.

Examples of Sitemaps:

  1. GeeksforGeeks HTML Sitemap: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/sitemaps/v2
  2. GeeksforGeeks XML Sitemap: https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/in/consumer_sitemap.xml

Types of Sitemap: There are two types of sitemap mainly as:

  1. HTML Sitemap: The end users are served using an HTML Sitemap. It makes it simple for visitors to navigate the site. Example: GeeksforGeeks HTML sitemap
  2. XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is a list of all your website’s URLs in XML format. It’s a road map for a search engine to follow to get to the content of a website. Example: GeeksforGeeks XML Sitemap.

XML Sitemaps can also be of varied types such as:

  • News Sitemaps: They help search engines to find news content on a website fast. This sitemap aids site owners in maintaining control over the information sent to search engines to be shown in the news section.
  • Image Sitemap: Search engines use an image sitemap to effectively scan and index photos on a website.
  • Video Sitemap: This sitemap allows search engines to learn more about the videos that are hosted on your website. For a video contribution, we can also use MRSS feeds.
  • Mobile Sitemap: A Mobile Sitemap is only required if you have a mobile-specific version of your website with distinct URLs, for the mobile version, go to m.facebook.com, and for the desktop version, go to facebook.com.

Advantages of Sitemap:

  1. SEO Ranking: A properly structured sitemap can have an enormous effect on the website’s ranking on search engines and is the sole major purpose of a sitemap to be included in a site
  2. Structured Delivery: A sitemap informs search engines about which pages and files on your site you consider important, as well as providing useful information about these items.
  3. Communicating Updates: When the page was last changed, for example, and whether there are any different language versions of the page. Metadata, which gives search engines precise information about a page, such as the last time it was altered, can be included in sitemaps.
  4. Rank Content Importance: A sitemap aids search engines in determining which pages of your website’s content to crawl and index. A sitemap tells a search engine which pages are significant to it.
  5. Easier Crawl: If you don’t have a sitemap, search engines must rely on your site architecture to crawl your site. As a result, search engines will have a tougher time crawling your page if it isn’t properly linked. Because search engines won’t have the information they need to properly index your website, this can have an impact on your rankings.
  6. Easy Navigation: Sitemaps make it easier to navigate your website not only for web crawlers of search engines but can also provide important page links to end-users.

Disadvantages of Sitemap:

While you will never be penalized for having a sitemap on your website by search engines having sitemaps could also bring in complications as follows:

  1. You may have to alter your sitemap differently for different search engines e.g. Google sitemaps (XML based) differ from standard visual sitemaps which are visual-based.
  2. If the website is very large the sitemap may defer pages from crawling and in fact, you may lose pages to be crawled by web crawlers and also may miss some updates if sitemaps are not updated frequently, etc.
  3. Sitemaps if automated using services may crawl administrative pages that you may not want to be crawled and for manual, you’ll need to update metadata frequently.
  4. When sitemaps generated from a database are crawled and indexed, they become obsolete at that moment only and hence need to be updated regularly.
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