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How to Create and Upload a Sitemap: The Complete 2200+ Word Guide

A well-structured sitemap is essential for any website aiming to rank higher in search engines. However, creating XML sitemaps manually for large and complex sites can be incredibly tedious and error-prone.

In this comprehensive 2200+ word guide, we‘ll explore how to automate sitemap generation using web crawlers. You‘ll also learn expert tips to optimize your sitemaps and integrate them with search engines for maximum SEO benefits.

By the end, you‘ll have in-depth knowledge of best practices to build crawling superhighways that send your website traffic and visibility skyrocketing!

What Are Sitemaps and Why You Need One

A sitemap is a special XML file that lists all the URLs of a website to help search engine crawlers index it more efficiently. The sitemap contains additional metadata about each URL, including:

  • Last modified date
  • Update frequency
  • Relative priority

This supplementary data allows search bots to crawl the site smarter and focus on indexing the most important pages first.

There are two main types of sitemaps:

XML sitemaps – Meant for search engine robots like Googlebot and Bingbot. Critical for SEO.

HTML sitemaps – Made for better navigation by human visitors. Don‘t help with rankings much.

Key Benefits of Sitemaps

Here are some of the main reasons you‘d want an XML sitemap for your site:

  • Discover new content faster – Sitemaps help search engines discover fresh content quicker. This greatly improves overall indexing.
  • Prioritize important pages – You can use metadata to highlight your most critical pages to bots. This focuses crawl budget on pages that matter most.
  • Rich results – Sitemaps allow you to optimize indexing of pages with videos, images, news articles and other rich media.
  • Crawl large sites efficiently – Manually interlinking a site with thousands of pages is extremely challenging. Sitemaps help bots crawl them all efficiently.
  • Index new sites easier – New websites with few backlinks struggle to get indexed. Sitemaps give crawlers a starting point.

According to Moz, adding a sitemap often results in a 5-15% visibility boost in search engines. For complex sites, gains can be much higher. Clearly, it‘s an SEO best practice well worth implementing.

Now let‘s look at how to generate optimized sitemaps using web crawlers.

Creating XML Sitemaps with Web Crawlers

While some content management systems have built-in sitemap generators, they don‘t offer much flexibility. For advanced needs, web crawlers are the best tool for building customized sitemaps.

Why Use Web Crawlers?

Here are some of the benefits of using web crawlers vs other sitemap generators:

  • Total crawl control – Specify inclusion/exclusion rules, maximum crawl depth, etc. Optimize crawl scope.
  • Custom metadata – Configure custom priority and change frequency for URLs to assist search bot indexing.
  • Larger sitemaps – Crawlers can build sitemaps with millions of URLs without issues. Avoid limits of other tools.
  • Incremental crawling – Only recrawl updated content to save resources. Ideal for large, fast-changing sites.
  • Rich media support – Easily optimize sitemaps for pages with images, videos and other media.
  • Automation – Crawlers can rebuild sitemaps automatically on schedules. No manual generation needed.

Let‘s see how you can leverage the Oxylabs crawling API to create optimized XML sitemaps for your site.

Step 1: Install Python and Requests Module

First, you‘ll need Python 3.7+ and the Requests module installed:

pip install requests

This allows us to make API requests from the code.

Step 2: Set Up API Request Payload

Next, we‘ll define the parameters for our crawl job:

payload = {

  "url": "",

  "filters": {
    "crawl": [".*"],
    "process": [".*"],  
    "max_depth": 10

  "output": {
    "type_": "sitemap" 


This payload specifies the start URL, crawl scope filters, and sitemap output format.

Step 3: Make API Request to Start Crawl

With the payload ready, we can make a POST request to kick off the crawl process:

import requests

response =
  auth=("username", "password"),

We‘ll get a response containing the job ID to check status.

Step 4: Monitor Craw Job Status

Next, we‘ll poll the status endpoint to wait for the crawl to finish:

import time

status = False 

while not status:

  info = requests.get(f"{job_id}")

  if info.json()["status"] == "done":
    status = True


Once the crawl job completes, we can fetch the sitemap.

Step 5: Download Sitemap Results

To get the sitemap, we‘ll request the /aggregate endpoint:

sitemap = requests.get(
  auth=("username", "password")

urls = sitemap.json()

This will return sitemap chunks we‘ll need to parse.

Step 6: Parse and Process Sitemap URLs

Next, we‘ll loop through the chunks to extract all URLs:

url_list = []

for chunk in chunks:

  data = requests.get(chunk["url"])  

  lines = data.content.decode().split("\n")

  for line in lines:

    url = json.loads(line)["url"]

Now we have a Python list containing all URLs in the sitemap.

Step 7: Generate the XML Sitemap File

Finally, we can generate the actual sitemap.xml file:

xml = f"""<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="">  
{"".join(f"<url><loc>{url}</loc></url>" for url in url_list)}

with open("sitemap.xml", "w") as f:

The above code wraps the URLs in proper XML markup for a standards-compliant sitemap.

And that‘s it! By leveraging the power of web crawlers, we can automate the entire XML sitemap generation process for even the largest websites with total flexibility.

Structuring Sitemaps Logically

With an automated crawler, you can create sitemaps however you like. But adhering to logical structure principles ensures maximum SEO value.

Here are some expert tips for structuring your sitemaps:

  • Separate sitemaps by site section – homepage, blog, products, etc. Breaking them up avoids size limits.
  • List most important pages first – Homepage, category pages, product pages, etc. Set higher priority on critical URLs.
  • Use a nested structure – Mirror your IA. Helps bots crawl efficiently.
  • Set frequency to daily/hourly only for frequently updated pages – Most should be weekly/monthly. Avoid flagging everything as highly dynamic.
  • Keep individual sitemaps under 50,000 URLs – List separate sitemaps for each site section if needed.
  • Disable hashing for image/video URLs – Keep full URLs for rich media items so they get crawled.
  • Make sitemaps mobile-friendly – List responsive site URLs or separate mobile sitemaps.

Properly structuring sitemaps helps search bots crawl and index your site much faster. Always keep best SEO principles in mind when designing them.

Optimizing Large, International Sites

For complex global sites, additional considerations are needed when generating sitemaps:

  • Separate country/language versions – List region-specific URLs in separate sitemaps with hreflang tags.
  • Specify user-agents – Configure bots to crawl with local headers/IPs for international URLs.
  • Prioritize local IPs – Set geo-targeted proxies by default to optimize indexing for visitors.
  • Translated page markup – Detect visitor location and serve translated page versions for maximum relevance.
  • Subdomain vs subdirectory – Use subdomains ( or subdirectories (/es/) for better localization.
  • Limit index bloat – Avoid crawling redundant localized content – focus on unique regional pages.

With the right strategy, sitemaps can significantly enhance international SEO efforts and localization.

Common Sitemap Mistakes to Avoid

When creating sitemaps, there are some mistakes that can limit their effectiveness or even cause indexing problems:

  • Incorrect URL syntax – Misformatted URLs get excluded from index. Always validate.
  • Listing unimportant pages – Focus sitemap on pages you want search engines to see. Avoid junk content.
  • Excessive links – Too many URLs waste crawl budget. Stick to pages that add value for users.
  • Infrequent updates – Don‘t update sitemaps rarely. Search engines favor fresh sitemaps.
  • Forgetting to ping – Don‘t forget to ping search engines when updating sitemaps so they recrawl faster.
  • Blocking robots – Double check robots.txt allows crawling of your sitemap file.
  • Incorrect markup – Syntax errors in XML markup leads to invalid sitemaps. Validate using tools.
  • Not testing – Always test new or updated sitemaps in search engines. Fix any errors before publishing widely.

Being diligent and avoiding these common mistakes ensures your sitemaps provide maximum SEO value safely.

Submitting Sitemaps to Search Engines

Once you‘ve generated your sitemaps, it‘s time to add them to search engines so they start crawling your site‘s fresh content.

Uploading to Google Search Console

Here are the steps to upload sitemaps to Google:

  1. Upload sitemap files to your web server
  2. Sign in to Google Search Console and select your site
  3. Click "Sitemaps" in the left navigation menu
  4. Click "Add/Test Sitemap"
  5. Enter the URL of your sitemap file and submit

Once processed by Google, you can click your sitemap to see if any errors were found. Track new indexed pages over the next few days.

Sitemap Submission Tools

For extremely large sitemaps, consider automating search engine submission using tools like Sitemap Generator or XML Sitemap Generator.

They allow pinging all major search engines simultaneously whenever you update your sitemaps to ensure rapid fresh content discovery.

The Future Is Automated

In today‘s competitive landscape, well-structured sitemaps form the vital crawling superhighways that send your website‘s visibility skyrocketing in search engines.

Leveraging the raw power of automated web crawlers eliminates all the manual efforts traditionally required for large, complex sitemaps. You gain fine-tuned control to build the perfect structured sitemaps for your site‘s needs.

So take the first step towards search engine success and implement optimized sitemaps for your website today. Your traffic and revenues will thank you for it!

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