The purpose of an XML sitemap is to ensure that the contents of your website are indexed faster than usual by popular search engines. Yoast SEO offers a WordPress SEO plugin as a suitable solution. One function is the XML Sitemaps function, which allows you to submit the entries of your website to search engines - from Google to Yahoo to Bing. XML Sitemaps ensures that search engines will index subpages as quickly as possible. It doesn't matter whether the pages contain a lot or little text, or whether they contain many or few videos or links. Various contributions can also be excluded from the sitemap. To prevent the sitemap from becoming too large, the Yoast SEO plugin offers the additional function that the created sitemap can be distributed over several files. Which files are preferred can be defined in the Yoast SEO XML Sitemaps menu. But first of all you have to activate the Sitemap.xml file. To do this, first call up the Yoast SEO XML Sitemaps menu. First click on "Activated" and then on "Apply changes". Yoast SEO will then automatically create a Sitemap.xml file. If content already exists on your WordPress website, it will immediately be included in the Sitemap.xml file. One of the standard functions of XML Sitemaps is that you can specify in the "Entries per page" section how many entries should be made in the Sitemap file. The recommended number of entries is 1000 by default. If there are problems with the web server here, you would have to reduce the number of entries - keyword memory limit error message. However, the default value of 1000 entries should not be a problem in most cases. After you have defined the number of entries, simply click on "Apply changes". Only then will these settings be saved in the Sitemap menu.
Further settings for XML Sitemaps
If you go one tab further - i.e. to "User Sitemap", you can specify whether the sitemap should be created for the archive pages of the author page or for the archive pages of the users. If your website may have more than one author, it makes sense to activate a separate sitemap for them. If you run your website alone or have assigned this to one of your employees, you can deactivate the archive function of WordPress. And at the same time you can or should deactivate the author or user sitemap under Yoast SEO. Everything else makes no sense. This is also relevant with regard to the punishment of the site by Google. By deactivating the WordPress archive you can prevent this penalty. In the XML Sitemaps you can also define the article types. To do so, switch to the Yoast SEO tab: "Article types". Here you have the possibility to define, activate or deactivate content types. You should make sure that the articles and media are listed in the XML Sitemaps file. If you want to hide your own portfolio, affiluate links from the search engines, you can deactivate or activate this individually via "Custom Post Types". In the tab: "Excluded Posts" you can even exclude individual posts from the Sitemap.xml file. To do this, you need the corresponding ID. To do this, go to the dashboard of the WordPress website and click on the menu item: "Posts". There you can find out the corresponding ID of the post you want to exclude from the index. With the button "Apply changes" you activate the exclusion from the selected post. Of course you can undo this at any time. You can then do some more detailed work on the XML Sitemaps by making the appropriate changes on the "Taxonomies" tab. In particular, you can determine here whether individual categories or keywords should be listed in the Sitemap.xml file. However, it is advisable to activate the keywords so that Google, Yahoo or Bing can really assign the posts more quickly. It's important, however, that at least 3 keywords have been assigned to each post.
Advantages / disadvantages XML Sitemaps
You are wondering if XML Sitemaps really make sense and what advantages it has. Experts think that activating XML Sitemaps really only makes sense for larger web projects - i.e. large websites. This means that a website should already have around 10,000 words if you want to call it big. Small websites, even with subpages, Google crawls without a Sitemap file without any problems. Basically, uploading an XML Sitemap offers them some major advantages. One of them is that the speed of indexing the website by the search engines is really very fast. Even if you run a website with a large content archive, where there are only a few internal links, the contents are easier to crawl by the search engines. Incidentally, experts do not see any disadvantages in the implantation of XML sitemaps. For some websites this is more effective than for others.