Google XML Sitemaps and RSS/Atom feeds for optimal crawling

A sitemap is nothing but an index of your website. A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s eye view of your site structure. It plays a dominant role in optimal crawling. It has become the most important concept in building an SEO based website. For having a well constructed sitemap, one has to inculcate definite knowledge of search engine optimization. In other words, it is an optimal description of whole concepts of the website in miniature.

For optimizing a website, sitemap plays a dominant role. It provides inputs to search engine for discovering all pages on a site and downloading them quickly when they change.

So, primary importance is given on both XML Sitemaps and RSS/Atom feeds, which plays vital for optimal crawling. XML Sitemaps provide a wide range of Google information about all of the pages on your site. Through RSS/Atom feeds, Google is able to keep your content fresh in its index. So, care should be taken on various factors, including URLs, time of last modification, knowledge of how often XML Sitemaps are updated.

To make it more clear, webmaster or SEO consultant must have a correct understanding of Sitemaps and feeds. XML Sitemaps describe the whole set of URLs within a site. On the other hand, RSS/Atom feeds describe recent changes in the website. XML Sitemaps are large in size, but RSS/Atom feeds are small in size. Notable, XML Sitemaps are downloaded less frequently than RSS/Atom feeds.

Taking all these factors and trends into account, Google recommends use of both XML Sitemaps and RSS/Atom feeds for optimal crawling. Submission of Sitemaps or feeds don’t guarantee the indexing of all URLs.

Some Important Points are to be taken into consideration for optimal crawling of a site for Google and other search engines:

  • Inclusion of URLs which can be fetched by Googlebot
  • Inclusion of canonical URLs
  • Specification of last modification time for each URL in an XML sitemap and RSS/Atom feed, and be sure to set or update last modification time correctly
  • Specification of time in correct format
  • Make sure XML Sitemaps should contain URLs of all pages on your site
  • For a single XML sitemap, update it at least once a day
  • Maximization of the number of URLs in each XML sitemap
  • Your RSS/Atom feeds must say about your recent updates of your site

For having a well constructed sitemap, an SEO analyst must focus on various concepts, including navigation purposes, conveying your site’s theme, site optimization purposes and organization and relevance.

So, importance should be given in generating XML Sitemaps and Atom/RSS feeds to optimize crawling of a site for Google and other search engines. To sum up, As an SEO analyst and webmaster, you have to keep an eagle eye on various important concepts, including URLs, Last modification time, XML Sitemaps and RSS/Atom.

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