What is an XML Sitemap?
I would answer the question of What is an XML Sitemap by showing you mine above. It looks pretty uneventful at first glance but there is a Red Carpet SSEOevent going on in there. The main Sitemap is broken into 5 Categories, Post, Page, Category, Feature-sets, and box sets. Each of these categories have Sub-Category Sitemap pages. This sitemap also lists images that are associated to each index helping to get your images ranked on the search engines as well.
What is an XML Sitemap
It stands for EXtensible Markup Language andit is a little hard to understand, but XML does not DO anything. XML was created to structure, store, and transport information. In this case the information is your Sitemap.
Asite map(orsitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. (wikipedia.com)
Then an XML Sitemap is a list of pages on your website that is structured to transport data to the search engines. In other words it is an outline of your website that Google, Bing and Yahoo robots (or bots) understand. Thus helping the robots to “understand” what your website is about and how and where to rank it.
WordPress SEO Plugin
My sitemap was created by the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. Easily the best SEO WordPress Plugin, in my humble opinion.
This sitemap looks a little different than others becauseof usingXSL stylesheets for these XML Sitemaps, the XML sitemaps are easily readable for the human eye. These XML Sitemaps will even work on large sites, because of how they’re created, using one index sitemap that links to sub-sitemaps for each 1,000 posts. (wordpress.org)
If you manage a WordPress Website/Blog then adding your Sitemap is as easy as adding this plugin, or others.
Why It is Important For SEO
An important factor to keep in mind when working on your websites ability to rank on search engine’s is that search engines are just programs, not human. They do not have the ability to “get the idea” of your website by looking it over. They just send their, Robots or Bots or Crawlers or Spiders, through your website and extract text. With that extracted text the programs use a complicated Algorithm to determine what your site is about.
Having a a good Sitemap can ensure that the bots read your entire website in the manner that you want it read to give you the best chance of getting indexed for what you want to get indexed for.