Tag: Google

Sitemap.xml files: what they are for, how to use them, and how to bypass “Too many URLs” error and size limits

Table of contents

  1. What are Sitemaps
  2. What are the restrictions for sitemap files
  3. How can you compress a sitemap file
  4. Can I use multiple sitemaps?
  5. What is the structure of sitemap files
  6. How to generate sitemap files
  7. How to Import a Sitemap into Google Search Console
  8. Sitemap.xml file status “Couldn't fetch”
  9. Is it necessary to use the sitemap.xml file?
  10. What to do if the sitemap contains an error. How to remove a sitemap file from Google Search Console

What are Sitemaps

Sitemaps are XML-formatted files that contain a list of the URLs of your site's pages for submission to the Google search engine so that it can quickly find out and index them.

What are the restrictions for sitemap files

  1. The file size should not be more than 50 MB
  2. There can be no more than 50,000 links in one file

How can you compress a sitemap file

In addition to the simple text format with XML markup, the file can be compressed into a .gz archive. In this case, the file size decreases dramatically because text files compress very well. For example, my 25 MB file was compressed into a 500 KB file.

To do this, it is enough to compress the original sitemap.xml file into .gz format. As a link in Google Search Console, you need to specify the path to the archive, for example: https://site.net/sitemap.xml.gz

If, when you try to open the https://site.net/sitemap.xml.gz file in a web browser, it downloads it to your computer instead of showing the content as for the sitemap.xml file, then this is normal. Either way, Google Search Console will be able to process this file.

Can I use multiple sitemaps?

For each site or domain resource, you can create multiple Sitemaps and import them all into Google Search Console – this is not only allowed, but also recommended by Google itself for sitemaps that are too large.

If there are many Sitemap files, then a complete list of them can be collected in a separate Sitemap file. This file is called “Sitemap Index File”. An example of the content of the sitemap.xml file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
	<sitemap>
		<loc>https://site.net/sitemaps/sitemap_1.xml</loc>
	</sitemap>
	<sitemap>
		<loc>https://site.net/sitemaps/sitemap_2.xml</loc>
	</sitemap>
	<sitemap>
		<loc>https://site.net/sitemaps/sitemap_3.xml</loc>
	</sitemap>
</sitemapindex>

After that, it is enough to import this main file into Google Search Console.

The rest of the sitemaps listed in the main index file will automatically be imported into the Google Search Console.

To see them, click on the file name. You will see a list of imported Sitemaps.

You need to wait before these files are processed and their status changes to “Success”.

What is the structure of sitemap files

Sitemap files have the following structure:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
	<url>
		<loc>https://domain.site.net/?p=1</loc>
		<lastmod>2022-10-08T14:14:27+00:00</lastmod>
		<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
		<priority>0.8</priority>
	</url>
<url>
	<loc>https://domain.site.net/?p=2</loc>
		<lastmod>2022-10-08T14:14:27+00:00</lastmod>
		<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
		<priority>0.8</priority>
	</url>
	<url>
		<loc>https://domain.site.net/?p=3</loc>
		<lastmod>2022-10-08T14:14:27+00:00</lastmod>
		<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
		<priority>0.8</priority>
	</url>
</urlset>

Each entry consists of four elements:

  1. URL
  2. Date of last modification
  3. Frequency of modification (e.g. monthly)
  4. A priority

How to generate sitemap files

If you are using WordPress, then the easiest way is to install a sitemap plugin.

If there is no sitemap plugin for your site engine, then it is quite easy to generate it yourself, since it is just a text file with XML markup.

How to Import a Sitemap into Google Search Console

Go to Google Search Console, select the site you want to report the Sitemap for, enter the URL of the Sitemap.

Sitemap.xml file status “Couldn't fetch”

At first, an inscription may appear that the sitemap.xml file “Couldn't fetch”. This inscription appears even if everything is alright with the sitemap.xml file. You just need to wait a little.

The bottom line is that this inscription does not mean that there are problems with the sitemap.xml file. It's just that the turn to analyze this file has not yet come.

A little later, the status of the file will change to “Successful”. At the same time, it will show how many URLs were revealed thanks to this file.

Even later, you can view the link indexing report from the sitemap.xml file.

Is it necessary to use the sitemap.xml file?

In fact, I don't usually use a sitemap.xml file. I add articles to most sites manually and, in my opinion, the sitemap.xml file is not particularly needed, since pages on such sites are indexed very quickly.

But if you're unhappy with your site's indexing speed, or need to quickly report a large number of URLs to be indexed, then try using sitemap.xml files.

What to do if the sitemap contains an error. How to remove a sitemap file from Google Search Console

If, after trying to process the Sitemap, you find that it contains errors (for example, an incorrect date format or broken links), then you do not have to wait until the time comes for the next crawling.

You can delete a Sitemap from Google Search Console and add it again right away. After that, quite quickly (within a few minutes), Google will check the Sitemap file again.

To remove a Sitemap file from Google Search, click on it. On the page that opens, in the upper right corner, find the button with three horizontal dots. Click it and select “Remove sitemap”.

After that, the Sitemap file will be deleted and you, after correcting errors in it, can immediately re-add the Sitemap file with the same or a different URL.

How to prevent search engines from indexing only the main page of the site

To prevent search engines from indexing only the main page, while allowing indexing of all other pages, you can use several approaches, depending on the characteristics of a particular site.

1. Using the robots.txt file

If the main page has its own address (usually it is index.php, index.html, index.htm, main.html and so on), and while trying to open a link like w-e-b.site/ a website redirects to the main page, for example, to w-e-b.site/index.htm, then you can use the robots.txt file with something like the following content:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /index.php
Disallow: /index.html
Disallow: /index.htm
Disallow: /main.html

In fact, using an explicit name for the main page is the exception rather than the rule. So let's look at other options.

You can use the following approach:

  1. Deny site-wide access with the “Disallow” directive.
  2. Then allow the indexing of the entire site using the “Allow” directive, except for the main page.

Sample robots.txt file:

User-agent: *
Allow: ?p=
Disallow: /

The “Allow” directive must always come before “Disallow”. The “Allow” directive allows all pages with a URL like “?p=”, and the “Disallow” directive disables all pages. As a result, the following result is obtained: indexing of the entire site (including the main page) is prohibited, except for pages with an address like “?p=”.

Let's look at the result of checking two URLs:

  • https://suay.ru/ (main page) – indexing is prohibited
  • https://suay.ru/?p=790#6 (article page) – indexing allowed

In the screenshot, number 1 marks the contents of the robots.txt file, number 2 is the URL being checked, and number 3 is the result of the check.

2. Using the robots meta tag

If your site is separate files, then add the robots meta tag to the HTML code of the main page file:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow>

3. With .htaccess and mod_rewrite

Using .htaccess and mod_rewrite, you can block access to a specific file as follows:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Google [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Yandex [NC]
RewriteRule (index.php)|(index.htm)|(index.html) - [F]

Please note that when you try to open a link like https://w-e-b.site/ (that is, without specifying the name of the main page), a specific file is still requested on the web server side, for example, index.php, index.htm or index. html. Therefore, this method of blocking access (and, accordingly, indexing) works even if the main page of your site opens without specifying a specific file name (index.php, index.html, index.htm, main.html, and so on), as is usually the case.

How to change the country in the Play Store

Features of changing the country in the Play Store

You can change the country in the phone in different ways, depending on the specific task. For example, to change the country for websites, it is enough to use a proxy or VPN.

To change the country for applications using GPS, you can use one of the applications that fake GPS data:

  • Mock GPS With Joystick
  • Mock Locations
  • Fake GPS – ByteRev
  • Fake GPS Go Location Spoofer
  • GPS Emulator – RosTeam
  • Fake GPS Location – Hola
  • Fake GPS Location – Lexa

But none of these methods are suitable for the Play Store, Google's mobile app store for Android phones.

Why you need to change the country in the Play Store

Some applications are available only in certain countries, or, on the contrary, are available in all countries with the exception of some. That is, by changing your country in the Play Store, a slightly different set of applications becomes available for you to install. However, most apps are equally available in all countries and you may not notice any difference when you change the country in the Play Store.

Also, depending on the country in the Play Store, the available payment methods for purchasing applications in the Play Store may vary.

Depending on the selected country in the Play Store, the list of applications of a regional nature may change: applications for various government services, banking and brokerage services, instant messengers.

Restrictions on changing the country of the Play Store

You can change the country no more than once a year.

After creating a payment profile, you also need to wait 12 months to change the country.

After changing the country, the changes cannot be undone. You can return to the previous country after a year.

If you're changing your country to access apps, books, games, movies, and TV shows that aren't available in your country, remember that some of these may also become unavailable when you change your country.

To change the country you must be in the new country and have a payment method in it.

Your Google Play Balance is linked to your Google Play country. If you have a Google Play Balance and change country, you won't be able to use that balance in your new country. At the same time, the balance is not reset – in the case of a return to the previous country, this balance becomes available again.

Step-by-step instructions for changing the country in the Play Store

Open Play Store.

Click on your profile photo.

Select “Settings”.

Select “General”.

Select “Account and device preferences”.

In the “Country and profiles” section, select the country you want to add to your account.

Follow the instructions on the screen to add a payment method for this country.

It may take up to 48 hours for your profile to update.

Why is the country change not available in the Play Store?

The option to change country may not be available in the Play Store. This may be for the following reasons:

1. Over the past year, you have already changed the country

2. You are not currently in a new country, this is based on your IP address.

3. You are part of the Google Play Family Library.

How to view and send SMS from a computer

If you are a desktop or laptop user, then you probably have versions of WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and other messengers for your computer. It is faster and more convenient to type messages and work with data on a computer.

What about SMS? Well, first of all, yes, does anyone else use SMS messages? Secondly, now there are SMS messages for computers.

The web version of Google Messages allows you to view and send SMS messages from your computer.

You can use your computer or Android tablet to chat with your friends through Messages for web, which shows what’s on your Messages mobile app. Messages for web sends SMS messages using a connection from your computer to your phone, so carrier fees will apply, just like on the mobile app.

In Google Fi, which is not available to everyone, except for text SMS messages, voice messages and calls are implemented, that is, it will soon be possible to also call from a computer using your phone number.

Make Messages your default messaging app

You can send and receive text messages, photos, voice messages, and video using Messages. If you don't have Messages, you can get it from Google Play.

Important: Some of these steps only work on Android 6.0 and up.

If your device has more than one messaging app, you can make Messages your default messaging app. When you make Messages your default messaging app, you can review your text message history in the Messages app, and you'll only be able to send and receive new text messages in the Messages app.

To set Messages as your default messaging app, select an option:

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. When prompted to change your default messaging app, follow the onscreen instructions.

Alternatively:

  1. Open Settings .
  2. Click Apps.
  3. In the list of apps, click Messages  And then SMS And then Messages .

If you no longer want Messages to be your default messaging app, you can uninstall the Messages app or change your default messaging app from your device's settings.

Set up Messages for web

1. On your phone, open Messages Android Messages.

2. Tap More More

3. Select Device pairing.

 

4. On your computer, open Messages for web (https://messages.google.com/web/) in a browser, like Chrome or Safari.

5. Using your phone, tap Scan QR code and hold your phone up to the QR code on the web page. When it’s ready, your phone will vibrate.

6. Optional: To pair with Messages for web automatically next time, check the box "Remember this computer." If you don’t check the box, you can tap More Moreand then Settings and toggle on Remember this device after you log in.

Important:

  • Your latest conversation threads, contacts, and other settings will be encrypted and cached on your browser.
  • If you don’t use your Messages account for a few weeks, you’ll be unpaired automatically for security reasons.

See your messages on the web

When you have unread messages, the Messages icon in your browser tab will show a red notification and the number of unread messages.

Tip: You can make Messages for web look darker or use high contrast:

  1. On your computer, click More Moreand then Enable Dark theme.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts for working with SMS on a computer:

  • Ctrl+k: Start new conversation
  • Ctrl+j: Focus on messages in conversation
  • Ctrl+Shift+k: Focus on conversation list
  • r: Focus on message box
  • Ctrl+.: Next conversation
  • Ctrl+Shift+a: Attach files
  • Ctrl+,: Previous conversation
  • Ctrl+Shift+e: Show/hide emoji picker
  • Ctrl+d: Delete conversation
  • Ctrl+Shift+s: Show/hide sticker picker
  • Ctrl+Alt+h: Archive conversation
  • Ctrl+Shift+g: Show/hide GIF picker
  • Ctrl+s: Open Settings
  • Ctrl+Shift+o: Show Details
  • Ctrl+?: Open keyboard shortcut help

Unpair Messages for web

Unpairing helps keep other people from seeing your messages and sensitive info, like two factor verification codes or personal details.

On a computer

If you're using Messages for web on a shared or public computer, unpair when you're done.

  1. On your computer, open Messages for web.
  2. At the top left, click More Moreand then Unpair.

On your Android phone

  1. On your phone, open Messages Android Messages.

  2. At the top left, tap More Moreand then Device Pairing.
  3. Choose where to unpair:
  • Unpair one computer: Next to the computer you want to disconnect, tap Delete Delete and then Unpair.
  • Unpair all computers: Tap Unpair all computers.

Check your messages on your Android tablet

You can check your messages from your Android tablet with Messages by Google. If you don't have Messages on your tablet, you can get it from Google Play.

Important: When you use Messages on your tablet, carrier fees apply.

Tips:

  • The unique QR code for Messages pairs the mobile app to your tablet.
  • Some tablets with cellular connectivity and a SIM card can send messages without a connection to your phone. This lets your tablet work like a mobile phone.
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