What is an XML sitemap?
XML sitemap includes URLs that contain information about each webpage present on a website with all details like when they are updated and how important they are for a website.
This is all process done to help the search engines (like google, bing, etc) crawl the content of each webpage more efficiently, and if allowing any changes to be fetched directly, including when a new webpage is added or any page removed.
It is most important for eCommerce websites because they are written for search engines to get your webpages indexed properly, so your customers or visitors can find your products and store through organic search.
XML sitemaps do not directly increase website search engine rankings, actually, they allow search engines to better crawl your webpages.
They can find all pages and content of your website and start showing it in search results and that results in getting you more search traffic and improved SEO rankings for each webpage.
How incomplete sitemap harm your store?
a sitemap isn’t useful to your customers but it's really important for search engines to crawl and index your store. Even if you have a very small e-commerce store, there are several advantages to providing search engines with an XML sitemap.
If you don't have a proper or incomplete site map then -
1. New pages always take a long time to appear in search, especially if they aren’t linked with other product pages of the website.
2. An update of the webpage might not help your rankings, because you aren’t providing search engines with valuable updated links(metadata).
3. Some links of the store have been excluded from searches because search engines don’t yet know about all of your product pages and your store’s relevancy.
4. The strong looking factor is your product images might not be included in image search results because they’re not dependent on XML sitemaps to be indexed.
In short, the XML sitemap makes the process much faster and easy to index in search results.
Types of Sitemaps
Mainly two types of sitemap used by eCommerce websites:
HTML Sitemaps: This sitemap is created for only visitors who can access it through a link on the website and those links help visitors to navigate the website smoothly.
XML Sitemaps: This sitemap is not for users but important for search engines. This is a must for every website as it is specifically designed for search engine bots.
How to Create an XML Sitemap?
Search engine like Google allows you to list up to 50k URLs in a single sitemap. You can build your own XML sitemap by breaking down its contents.
Products: Every time you add or remove even a single product should be updated on the sitemap.
Categories: These categories pages for a better understanding of your website.
Boilerplate pages: It's just the basic pages of authenticity and brand value of your website, like about us and contacts us.
Blogs: For the list of blog articles you have written and published on your website at that time you have to be careful to include all posts, tags, and archives.