Optimising XML Sitemaps: 10 key points

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What is XML Sitemaps Optimisation?

The world of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is constantly evolving. To optimise the visibility of your website on search engines such as Google and improve theuser experienceIt's essential to have a good sitemap, also known as a sitemap.

The most commonly used format for this is the XML Sitemapwhich is a structured file that can be easily interpreted by indexing robots.

In this article, we present 10 key points to optimise your XML sitemaps.

XML Sitemaps Optimization

1. The structure of the sitemap

To get off to a good start, you need to understand the basic structure of an XML sitemap. A sitemap is made up ofelements andattributes. The main element is generally called which contains various tag corresponding to each page of your site. Each must include at least two mandatory attributes :  (the location or URL) and  (the last date of modification).

2. Page hierarchy

In addition to the basic elements mentioned above, you can use additional elements to prioritise your pages. The  allows you to indicate the priority of each page in relation to the others, on a scale of 0 to 1. A higher value indicates a higher priority. This technique gives you greater control over the indexing of your site.

3. Image referencing

To further improve your SEO, it is essential to take into account the images contained within your pages. The XML Sitemaps format allows you to include information about each image using the to inform search engines of their presence.

Legends and "alt" attributes :

Don't forget to add captions and "alt" attributes to each image, to provide a description that is accessible and understandable to indexing robots. This will help to improve the referencing of your images on specialist search engines (Google Images, for example).

4. Languages and hreflang

If your site is available in several languages, it is important to mention this in your XML sitemap. Use the  to indicate the different language versions of your pages, which will make it easier for search engines to select the appropriate version.

5. Size and frequency

The size of XML Sitemaps files is limited to 50,000 URLs or 50 MB per file. If your site has more pages, you will need to create several sitemaps and list them in a single sitemap index.

In addition, it is essential to regularly update your sitemaps to ensure that your content is optimally indexed. We recommend using the  to tell search engines approximately how often each page is modified.

6. Optimisation for different types of content

XML sitemaps are not limited to simple pages HTML of your site. They can also include various file formats such as videos, images or PDF files. Take care to adapt the structure of your sitemap to the formats present on your site, using specific tags for each type (for example : <video:videotype for videos).

7. Submission to search engines

To ensure effective referencing, consider submitting your XML sitemaps directly to the main search engines (Google, Bingetc.). This can be done via their dedicated webmaster tools, such as Google Search Console. Submitting your sitemap will allow the indexing robots to take it into account more quickly and more fluidly.

8. Automatic detection via the robots.txt file

Another way of making it easier for search engines to find your XML sitemap is to add it to your robots.txt. Simply add a line of code indicating the path to your sitemap (for example : Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml), you allow the indexing robots to detect it automatically when they visit your site.

9. Performance analysis and assessment

Once your XML sitemap has been correctly optimised and submitted, it is important to regularly analyse its effectiveness in terms of referencing. Use tools such as Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to evaluate the performance of your sitemap and monitor any indexing problems.

10. Regular updates

Finally, don't forget to update your XML sitemap regularly. Websites evolve rapidly and to ensure optimal SEO, it's crucial to keep your sitemap up to date. Whether you add, delete or modify pages, make sure you adjust your sitemap accordingly.

You are now ready to optimise your XML sitemap! Follow these 10 key points to improve your natural referencing and increase your visibility on search engines. Optimising your XML sitemap is a key element of a successful SEO strategy.

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