Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a magical kingdom called Internet. Internet was home to the ancient family of Webmasters. The youngest member of the clan, Patrick O’Webmaster, was very ambitious.
He was determined to stay true to the family name. He often faced the confusing and very complex task of making sure other villagers of Internet who lived far far away would find his website.
For that purpose, he would need the help of mystical beasts called the crawlers, which explore and index all the important pages of every website. If he achieved good results, the crawlers will build a rainbow so that the villagers will easily access his website. Patrick’s website could also turn into a pot of gold ✨.
He had heard about a solution that could help these strange crawlers find his website, and explore their way through it: the sitemap.XML. However, it was March, and Patrick had heard that every March, around the 17th, small but mischievous creatures would play tricks by making a mess of sitemaps. They knew that people with successful websites would get the pot of gold. But they wanted to keep the gold for themselves, so they guarded it jealously.
O’Webmaster was determined and brave, so he created a sitemap anyway and decided to fight off the leprechauns and the mischievous tricks the leprechauns were playing.
He firstly made sure that the sitemap contained correct <urlset> tags. It was well-known in the land of Internet that leprechauns often stole these. But they were easy to add.
He then made sure that the URL format of the sitemap was correct. For his website, in this case: https://www.dearpatrick.com/sitemap.xml.
His website was very big and rich in content, so O’Webmaster considered creating several small sitemaps of less than 50,000 URLs to facilitate exploration. The leprechauns would only have more work to do to disrupt the sitemap!
As O’Webmaster and his O’team also worked with other content such as videos, they took care to create special sitemaps.xml for this kind of content. In this way, he ensured that the crawlers would be able to find all of his content. He took great care not to forget the required tags, namely <video:player_loc>, <video:content_loc>, <video:description>, <video:title>, <video:thumbnail_loc>, <video:video>, <loc>, <url>.
O’Webmaster thought his job was done and wanted to check if everything was correct with a tool from the magus Google. He noticed that there were a significant number of errors in his file, and mainly URLs referring to 404 pages or redirects. He knew straightaway the mischievous leprechauns had been up to their tricks again. He corrected everything, cursing these annoying creatures.
After that, he checked the file again, and the magus showed that his sitemap.xml was free of errors. With the pot of gold in mind, O’Webmaster happily loaded the sitemap.xml on to the root domain of his website as well as on Google Search Console. All he had to do then was to wait for the crawler’s visit. This happened quickly, and the crawler enjoyed its journey on the O’Webmaster’s website so much that he built a rainbow, and showed the website high in the SERPs. The villagers only had to follow the rainbow, and the huge amount of visits turned the website in a pot of gold.
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Published on 03/15/2019 by Pauline Mitifiot.
Pauline studied history and project management at Aix Marseille University, during which she spent time living in Turkey, Italy and Germany. Pauline then settled in Munich because she could no longer do without her daily pretzel. She has been part of the Ryte team since July 2016, and contributes to the French Ryte Magazine and Wiki.Become a guest author »
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