If you’re a marketer, chances are you’re well-versed in the importance of sitemaps. After all, sitemaps are crucial for helping search engines index your website properly. Without a sitemap, it would be much harder for Google and other search engines to find and rank your content—and that could have a major impact on your traffic levels.
But even if you know all that, you might not realize that sitemaps can actually come in different varieties. One type of sitemap is an XML sitemap, which is a code-based sitemap that’s designed to be read by search engine bots. In this post, we’ll show you how to check your XML sitemaps for errors so that you can ensure that they’re working properly.
Why Check Your XML Sitemaps?
Before we dive into the specifics of how to check your XML sitemaps for errors, let’s take a step back and briefly discuss why checking for errors is so important in the first place.
Firstly, it’s worth noting that XML sitemaps are not required for all websites. If your website is relatively small or your website structure is simple, chances are you won’t need an XML sitemap. However, if your website is large or has a complex structure, an XML sitemap can be very helpful.
Additionally, while most CMSs will automatically generate an XML sitemap for you, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong in the process. That’s why it’s important to periodically check your XML sitemap for errors—so that you can catch any potential problems and fix them before they have a chance to impact your traffic levels.
How to Check Your XML Sitemap for Errors
Now that we’ve covered why checking for errors is so important, let’s talk about how to actually do it. The process is actually quite simple:
1. Find your XML sitemap: If you’re using WordPress, chances are your XML sitemap is located at www.example.com/sitemap_index.xml. If you’re using another CMS or platform, the location of your XML sitemap will vary; however, it’s usually pretty easy to find with a quick Google search.
2. Use an online validator: Once you’ve found your XML sitemap, the next step is to use an online validator tool like https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/validate-xml-sitemap.html or https://search.google.com/search-console/sitemaps to check it for errors. Simply enter the URL of your sitemap into the validator tool and wait for the results; the tool will then tell you if there are any problems with your sitemap or not.
3. Fix any errors: If the validator tool finds any errors in your XML sitemap, don’t panic! In most cases, these errors can be easily fixed with a few quick tweaks; however, if you’re not familiar with code or if the task seems daunting, don’t hesitate to reach out to a developer for help.
As a marketer, you probably already know how important sitemaps are for ensuring that search engines can find and index your content properly; however, what you might not realize is that there are actually different types of sitemaps—including XML sitemaps (which are code-based). Today’s post covers everything you need to know about checking your XML sitemaps for errors; after all, even though most CMSs will automatically generate an XML site map for you, it’s always possible that something could go wrong in the process—which is why regular checks are so important!