In the blogosphere, Sitemaps are the often used context when it comes to website optimization and SEO. Sitemaps are the roadmap for your website that helps Search Engines like Google, Bing and others to crawl and index your website efficiently.
I’ve seen people often asking, Why Google is not indexing my website. Once you have built your website, the foremost thing is to set up permalink structure. Choose the best permalink structure for your website and start publishing valuable content on your site.
Importance of Sitemaps
Of course, you might have already submitted your website to search engines; however, you need to submit a proper Sitemap to Google Webmasters, Bing Webmasters and others. After you had submitted the sitemap for your website, Search Engines will crawl the content and start indexing them to their database.
Thus, you need to optimize your website Sitemap to get better results and drive organic traffic. If you are a WordPress user, there are a lot of SEO plugins available out there, but I prefer WordPress by Yoast SEO plugin. In case you are using some other plugins like All in One SEO, I recommend you to use Yoast SEO plugin and import the settings from that plugin.
Check out this post, if you want to double your Adsense revenue with simple tweaks
If you are on other platforms, creating sitemap is common through modules. Once you have configured sitemap modules to your site, you’ll need to add only the pages and posts to your Sitemap. Some plugins and modules have default setup, however, if you are using Yoast and All in One SEO plugins, you change the settings of Sitemaps as per your interest.
I recommend you not to include tags to you sitemap as it may create duplicate post entries in Google database which will affect your website credibility. If you are not aware of duplicate meta tags and description, make sure to check them by logging in to your Google Webmaster tool. You can add categories tab if you want you can include categories in Sitemaps.
If you have a ton of duplicate meta tags and description, there are high chances for Google to consider your website as spam. It will take months to recover once your website is marked as spam.
Yoast SEO Plugin Sitemaps Settings
First up, Go to Title & Metas in Yoast SEO tab, then to Taxonomies -> set noindex and hide option for Tags and Categories. And, then save.
Next up, go to XML Sitemaps, then to Taxonomies -> remove Tags and Categories.
In case you want categories to be indexed by Google, add it to Sitemaps and set categories to noindex in Title & Metas.
After changing the settings of your Sitemaps, login to Google Webmaster, delete the existing Sitemaps and add the new Sitemaps.
You have now optimized your website sitemap, however you need to optimize your website as well. This post will explain you on how to optimize your website for search engines and SEO 2016.