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Should You Submit Your Sitemap Every Month?

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Should You Submit Your Sitemap Every Month?


This week’s Ask An SEO question comes from Renee in Iowa, who writes:

“I read somewhere that you should submit your sitemap every month. When you provide an XML URL, isn’t it just that – a URL and therefore updates are always in place?

I’m using RankMath which generates my XML file. It didn’t seem like I was uploading a file to Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster tools (actually, I let Bing import form Google Console).

Maybe the confusion is that the HTML file needs to be updated monthly. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on that, thank you!”

There’s a lot to unpack in here, and Renee’s question strikes a few of my nerves that I’d like to dive into.

Before I do that though I’ll just say no, you don’t have to submit your sitemap every month.

Now, let’s address some common questions and misconceptions about sitemaps before we go into more detail on Renee’s question.

What’s The Value In XML Sitemaps?

XML sitemaps are a big pet peeve of mine.

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It seems like 75% of the 3rd party SEO audits I see these days all start off with “you don’t have an XML sitemap, create one!”

That can be good SEO advice, but most of the time it’s just another task that won’t help the client get any more traffic.

XML sitemaps aren’t a ranking factor.

Leaving aside hreflang and other stuff, their main use is for discovering links.

That means if you have a really good site architecture and code your site using all the best practices, search engines most likely discover all your links without needing a sitemap.

For many sites with technical problems that affect crawling though, they can be a lifesaver.

That context is important, meaning an XML sitemap might be a really important SEO fix, or it might not be needed at all.

If you’re an SEO professional including that in your audit without the context, you’re doing your client a disservice.

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Ok, I Need An XML Sitemap, How Often Do I Submit It?

Ideally, you only need to submit your sitemap once (per search engine) in the search console.

After that, they will keep re-crawling it on a schedule that they think makes sense based on what they know about your site.

You should also reference your sitemap in your robots.txt file.

There’s really no reason to keep submitting it after that.

If you’re doing a major redesign and update and want to re-submit it for peace of mind, go for it. There’s no harm.

… Like A Knife

One of my most common sayings in SEO presentations is: “___ is like a knife. You can use it to butter your bread, or stab yourself” and XML sitemaps are no exception to that rule.

While XML sitemaps can be a great way to get URLs indexed, they can also be dangerous if you don’t stay on top of them.

Most websites I look at have XML sitemaps that contain several errors.

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Many of the URLs don’t get automatically updated or removed when the site is changed, so they end up submitting a sitemap full of 301 redirects or pages that don’t exist anymore (404).

Years ago at a conference, a Bing rep told me that if a couple of the URLs in your XML sitemap had a status other than 200, then Bing assumed your sitemap was out of date and ignored it.

I have no idea if that’s still the case or what that threshold is, but it makes sense.

I’ve seen too many SEO experts make a change to their URLs, then cause themselves all kinds of issues by leaving the old URL in the XML sitemap.

What About HTML Sitemaps?

For starters, you shouldn’t have to worry about submitting an HTML sitemap.

I don’t hate HTML sitemaps, but the same caveat about making sure you update it whenever you do other changes still applies here.

You don’t want to send conflicting messages to search engines by including your non-canonical versions in some old sitemap you forgot about.

Remember, HTML sitemaps are essentially just another crawl band-aid though.

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If your site architecture is perfect and your code is all clean and crawlable, you won’t need one.

Most clients I work with use the HTML sitemap as a quick fix because of some weird UX issues preventing search engines from cleanly getting to pages.

It works, but it’s not the best way.

I hope this clears up a lot of questions about XML sitemaps.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need them.

In the real world though, XML sitemaps can be a powerful tool or a great way to cause a bunch of issues with your website.

More resources: 


Featured Image: BestForBest/Shutterstock

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SEO

What You Need To Know

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What You Need To Know

How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns?

Have you ever felt that some marketing channels’ data seems to be located in “a void” – meaning it’s hard to discover their actual impact?

Channels like connected TV, satellite radio, digital advertising, email, and social networks have made marketing campaign analysis a complex field for marketers.

But you can find valuable insights for your strategies – if you know where to look.

Luckily, you’ll uncover precisely where this hidden data lies, right now.

On September 28, I moderated a webinar by Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics at iQuanti.

Ray explained how you can improve your ability to predict the success of your marketing programs.

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Here is a summary of the webinar.

To access the entire presentation, complete the form.

The What, Why & How Of Marketing Effectiveness

Marketing effectiveness goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. If your marketing is performing effectively, the cost of acquiring or executing a campaign is more efficient.

The underlying goal of all marketers is to understand the actual return on their investment in different channels.

It’s important to measure marketing effectiveness because you want to optimize:

  • Marketing performance.
  • Marketing budget.
  • Business performance.

However, isn’t always easy to track due to external and internal factors.

[Learn Your Barriers Of Effectiveness] Instantly access the webinar →

Measurement Techniques To Use To Guage Success

First, create a KPI framework to identify your important business KPIs.

Next, design a solution to capture your company’s KPIs accurately.

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Then, standardize your channel data collection.

Finally, develop a structured approach to identify what marketing KPIs should be collected for measuring business success.

iQuanti, September 2022

Once you understand the different metrics you’re capturing, focus on standardizing how you capture this data.

These methods can include:

  • Campaign tagging framework.
  • Campaign naming conventions.
  • Roll-out of a campaign tracker.

[Easy Technique: Learn How To Use Google & Facebook For Data Collection] Instantly access the webinar →

Advanced Techniques For Measuring Effectiveness

You can measure marketing campaign effectiveness by tracking:

  • Attribution.
  • Cause & Effect.
  • Marketing Mix Modeling.

Digital Attribution

Digital Attribution is the science of assigning credit to each marketing touch point of the customer journey based on that touch point’s influence on their ultimate conversion decision.

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To KnowiQuanti, September 2022

Approaches include rule-based and algorithmic attribution.

[Learn What These Are & How They Help] Instantly access the webinar →

Incrementality: Proving Cause & Effect

Incrementality in marketing is the lift or increase in the desired business outcome (e.g., awareness, web visits, conversions, revenue) resulting from a marketing intervention.

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You can approach this on a user level or geo-level.

[Learn More] Instantly access the webinar →

Marketing Mix Modeling

Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) is a statistical technique used to identify and quantify the relationship between a pre-defined KPI like sales and the factors influencing them.

This approach is privacy friendly, holistic, and flexible.

[See it in action] Instantly access the webinar →

Metrics For Measuring Marketing Spend

By analyzing the spend metrics you’re tracking for the particular campaign, you can get a good understanding of how effective different campaigns are.

There are a lot of spend metrics, but the three cost metrics that help you understand how well each of your campaigns is performing are:

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  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).
  • Cost Per Incremental Acquisition (CPIA).
  • Marginal Cost Per Acquisition (MCPA).

[Take a closer look at each metric] Instantly access the webinar →

Now that you know the techniques and metrics, you can go on selection.

How To Select The Right Measurement Techniques

Consider the following factors while selecting the proper measurement techniques:

  • Availability Of Data
    • Is the data foundation in place?
    • Availability of historical data and granularity of data.
  • Availability Of Resources
    • What’s the current tech stack for measurement?
    • Access to skilled resources.
  • The Use Case
    • The primary objective of the analysis.
    • Industry and customer journeys (path to conversion).

Knowing where to look allows you to find valuable insights for your strategies, gain clarity, and move in the right direction with your campaigns.

[Find Your Best Measurement Technique] Instantly access the webinar →

Measuring Marketing Effectiveness: What You Need To Know [Webinar]

Here’s the presentation:

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

6 Keys Your Business Needs To Win With Your Marketing Agency

Building trust with your agency and establishing a strong marketing foundation is a sure-fire way to take your business to the next level. This webinar will walk you through ways to have a clear, transparent and trusting partnership with your agency and drive results.


Image Credits:

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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