What is an RSS or XML sitemap?

Traditioanlly people would think of a sitemap as a webpage that helps an indivdiual find content by a structured menu/list of content.

RSS and XML sitemaps are a vital component of website maintainance and SEO, serving as a means to communicate with search engines and facilitate the discovery of web content. In addition to the ubiquitous XML sitemaps, this document will also touch upon other formats such as RSS and HTML sitemaps.

As well as the list of pages you can advise search engines on when the page was last updated, how often it is updated and the relative priority of each page within your website. They can also contain information about news and media within your website.

Sitemaps help you improve your search engine coverage by providing a structured list of URLs, helping search engines understand and index site content more effectively. This can enhance search engine visibility, leading to increased organic traffic, and helps ensure that all essential pages are discoverable by users.

(Google) XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are used by search engines such as Google and Bing to consume basic information about the pages in your website and include:

  • Web page address
  • Last modified date
  • Update frequency
  • Relative priority within your site

An actual sitemap file might look something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">

RSS Sitemaps

RSS sitemaps case to prominance to help with content sharing and syndication. They help get more informationve information about the actual content of the page (such as title and description) out to news, blog and content sites that want to refernece and consume the content. They were also a means for indivdiuals to curate a list of their prefered content.

They look very similar to XML sitemaps but with different content :

<title>Website name</title>
<description>Website description here</description>

     <title>Blog homepage</title>
     <description>Sitemap entry description</description>
     <title>Another item</title>
     <description>AHelp page</description>


Other types

Within the world of XML and RSS sitemaps there exist various extensions that allow you to add additional content. RSS content feed for example used to be opular with Podcasters as a mean to provide information about their media. XML Sitemaps include extensions for media including specific types for Images, news and more,

How do I create one?