As an SEO specialist, one of your main goals is to utilize online tools to help a website communicate better with search engine robots. One of the tools that most SEO experts are using today is XML and image sitemaps. That is because Google and other major search engines support their use.
So what are XML and Image sitemaps?
XML sitemaps are plans of your site that helps guide the search engine robots to crawl or index website pages on the search engine results page. Some of the things you can include in an XML sitemap are SEO-relevant URLs, but there is no guarantee that a particular page will show up on the results page.
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An Image sitemap includes the metadata of the images on your website. This information helps Google give users relevant image results related to the user’s search query. You can search for images that you wouldn’t usually find on Google, thanks to image sitemaps.
So are sitemaps important to Google?
Yes- because it gives the search robots a directory with important information about a website. This enables the robots to crawl and index pages more accurately depending on how relevant the website content is to the search query.
Image sitemaps are essential, especially for travel and e-commerce websites, because visitors are more interested in the visuals. Besides that, Google is now showing about 40.7% of images on the results page regardless of the query.
When it comes to optimization, it’s essential for Google to spot your business. SEO experts always pick up any tool that Google rolls out to aid in this plan. So it begs the question;
Are XML and image sitemaps important for SEO?
When looking for affordable SEO packages, you will not find most companies stating that they use sitemaps as an SEO tool. This is because most SEO experts do not use sitemaps as a content optimization tool. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, using sitemaps does not necessarily affect your ranking on the search results page. They only determine whether your website shows up on the results page.
What makes your website rank higher is how relevant your website content is to the question in the search bar. This is not to say that sitemaps are irrelevant for SEO. An expert knows that using sitemaps and other optimization tools effectively will give you a higher ranking. Sitemaps alone cannot help you achieve a higher ranking on the Google results page. However, you can use the tool to boost your SEO efforts, like using keywords and backlinks to increase your online presence.
The catch with using XML and image sitemaps is that they have to be frequently updated. If your website changes, often ensure you make the relevant updates and alert Google to make the necessary changes. Experts recommend that you put several links on your sitemaps to avoid lagging when Google tries to download your website information.
Note that XML and image sitemaps have been there since 2005. They have become more popular now because of their use in SEO services, and Google is using them more now. Remember, they are not an SEO element but can significantly boost your efforts.