You can run. But you can’t hide… When you’re listed on an XML Sitemap.
Back in 2005, around the time when one of my favorite shows – The Office (US version), premiered on NBC, Google was busy introducing Sitemaps to the world. When the world wide web started getting loaded with websites that consisted of multiple webpages, search engine spider bots like Googlebot found it excruciating to understand which of those pages need to be indexed (listed). Enter Sitemaps. They help in relieving some stress off of search engines. Sitemaps also let you control the priorities of your pages, frequency of page changes and modified dates. Setting up XML sitemaps with Drupal 8 is easy and you can choose from Drupal sitemap modules like the Simple XML Sitemap module or the XML Sitemap module.
What is a Sitemap?
Sitemaps are XML (Extensible Markup Language) files that contain a list of all your webpages and their locations. Listing out all your URLs in a single XML Sitemap file ensures that search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc., ‘indexes’ your content that is ready to be seen by the world. Here is an example of our XML Sitemap in Drupal -
The <priority> element tells the crawlers how important that page is to your website with regards to all the other pages. You can set a priority that ranges between 0.0 to 1.0 with 1 being of highest importance. So how important sitemaps are for SEO? This question is often debatable but having a XML sitemap has proven to improve the time taken to crawl a website by Google/Yahoo bots. Admittedly, the faster your website is crawled the better chance it has at SERP ranking.
Having said that, not all websites need a XML sitemap. Especially not if your website is small, not very complex and is well referenced through internal links. Here’s what Google has to say about this –
Drupal XML Sitemap Modules
SEO has always been priority for Drupal and the community has created tons of modules dedicated to SEO only. With Sitemaps playing a significant role in improving the SEO ranking of a website, Drupal comes with some easy-to-use modules like the Simple XML Sitemap module and the XML Sitemap module. Both Drupal XML sitemap modules aim to generate XML sitemaps that meet the latest standards and specifications.
Drupal Simple XML Sitemap Module
The Simple XML Sitemap module for Drupal 8 is an easy-to-use XML sitemap generator. This Drupal XML sitemap module has been made specifically for Drupal 8. Needless to say, the codebase complies by the OOP and Drupal 8 standards. Which makes it more futuristic and flexible. It generates Drupal XML sitemaps that adhere to Google’s latest standards and even supports multilingual content. The XML sitemap Drupal module also provides an API that will allow you to customize links and configurations, making it truly extendible.
XML Sitemap Module
This robust old-timer has been around since Drupal 5 and continues to support Drupal 9 websites as well. The Drupal XML Sitemap module lets you create xml sitemaps that adheres to the sitemap.org guidelines. Sitemaps generated can be automatically submitted to search engines like Google, Ask, Bing, etc. The module is also flexible and comes with submodules that allow site admins to customize links and the output.