XML Sitemaps

We are pleased to announce a new feature on Sites@UCI. We now have XML sitemaps available for all sites. This will help search engines index your website.

What is a sitemap?

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your site.

from https://www.sitemaps.org/

Do I need a sitemap?

From Google

If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap can improve the crawling of your site, particularly if your site meets one of the following criteria:

  • Your site is really large. As a result, it’s more likely Google web crawlers might overlook crawling some of your new or recently updated pages.
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are isolated or well not linked to each other. If you site pages do not naturally reference each other, you can list them in a sitemap to ensure that Google does not overlook some of your pages.
  • Your site is new and has few external links to it. Googlebot and other web crawlers crawl the web by following links from one page to another. As a result, Google might not discover your pages if no other sites link to them.
  • Your site uses rich media content, is shown in Google News, or uses other sitemaps-compatible annotations. Google can take additional information from sitemaps into account for search, where appropriate.
Using a sitemap doesn't guarantee that all the items in your sitemap will be crawled and indexed, as Google processes rely on complex algorithms to schedule crawling. However, in most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you'll never be penalized for having one.

What is the link to my sitemap?

You can view your sitemap's XML data by going to:

http:sites.uci.edu/yoursite/sitemap.xml

for example, the sitemap for this site is at: https://sites.uci.edu/sitemap.xml

How can I submit my sitemap to Google?

Google has some helpful instructions at: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/183668?hl=en&ref_topic=4581190