Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Subash Basnet on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 19, 2018).

XML Sitemap Filename and Location

Normally I do www.website.com/sitemap.xml to check sitemap but my client have Website.com/sitemap_index.xml is this normal structure for the site map. It says generated by yoast. And Result shows post-sitemap.xml and page-sitemap.xml.
Bit confused

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Lisa Brown: Yes. that is the standard location for a WordPress site using the Yoast SEO plugin.
  • Subash Basnet: Thanks. Does it affect on anything (ranking, indexing)if I replaced with some other sitemap plugin.
  • Lisa Brown: no but see no reason to replace Yoast, unless you need something that it can`t or won`t do. You`d submit the new plugin`s URL for the sitemap instead in that case.
  • Christopher Shin: Underscores in URL? C’mon folks. First of all, all SEO pros know that underscores are not good. Second, I have many clients using Yoast including premium versions and they also do not have underscores.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: It`s absolutely Yoast. And Underscores are bad for a URL that someone might type in by hand, but are perfectly fine for anything else.
  • Rob Woods: it`s absolutely Yoast and there is no problem using an underscore in a URL for a sitemap, where the URL doesn`t need to rank for anything.
  • Christopher Shin: was gonna mention that since it was for a sitemap, it really didnt matter. But I still try to avoid them when I can.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: The underscore actually has a specific meaning to Google. a "fire_truck" can only mean "fire truck" where as "fire-truck" could be talking about fire or trucks or fire trucks. A hyphen is a separator, the underscore is a joiner. Yes. This info is sort of irrelevant to this discussion, but there does seem to be an awful lot of confusion on this topic.
  • Christopher Shin: Well. Rob had the main point. We don’t need to rank sitemaps as it is more for bots and crawlers. After all, it is not like underscores and hyphens drive big gains in rank right? 😊
  • Roger Montti: Re: "where as "fire-truck" could be talking about fire or trucks"1. From a semantic point of view, that`s unlikely. Those two entities when in proximity to each other will default to fire truck. 2. From an SEO/Crawler point of view, hyphens and underscores are treated the same. It doesn`t matter to Google if you use underscore or hyphens. It simply does not matter. This has been the case for several years now. At one time about ten or so years ago Matt Cutts encouraged publishers to use hyphens. But that advice has been deprecated, i.e. no longer the case.3. Because hyphens and underscores are treated the same, there will be no semantic bug up Google`s crawler if you use an underscore. It simply doesn`t matter. ;)
  • Christopher Shin: I need to go back to America. Been stuck in Korea trying to conquer Naver SEO. Lol
  • Roger Montti: Christopher Shin Mmm... Korean Food...
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Roger - you are incorrect. FIrstly, of course I`m not talking about the words fire or truck here - I was giving an example of how Google treats underscores and hyphens differently. You can`t talk semantics when the topic is about operators. Secondly, as I said... a hyphen is a separator. An underscore is a connector. Here`s Matt Cutts on it: "So if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even “word1 word2”."https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/dashes-vs-underscores/
  • Stockbridge Truslow: And for more proof - a hyphenated search brings up 243, 000 results. And an underscored search brings up 18, 000. Absolutely NOT the same.
  • Benj Arriola: XML Sitemap Filename and Location:I can be named anything, and located anywhere. But the most common filename is sitemap.xmlIf ever it is named something else and located elsewhere, then do: (1) state it in your robots.txt file with the sitemap line. Preferably a full absolute URL, no relative URLs and also (2) submit the XML sitemap to Google Search Console and others like Bing Webmaster Tools.Underscores in the XML sitemap file name:Totally fine. Underscores are treated like characters and dashes like spaces is the common thing SEOs preach in URL naming of files and folders. It is better to use dashes as word separators than underscores. But the thing is... XML sitemap are not keyword focused, they were not made to appear in search results and are not made to rank for a keyword. So underscores in an XML sitemap file name are ok.XML Sitemap and it’s effects on ranking:None. Just because you have an XML sitemap does not mean you will rank higher. But what it means is you get your pages discovered, crawled and indexed faster. And if you get indexed quicker then there is a chance of also ranking high quicker.
  • Rob Woods: and honestly if you have a small site, with infrequent updates, good canonical signals, and a crawlable architecture, all sitemaps are really good for is diagnostics
  • Bernz J Pragides: Following this thread
  • Ryan Jones: In urls it doesn’t matter. In text on the page it does. It’s that simple.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 19, 2018).

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