XSL Stylesheet and Transformation with XML Sitemaps

XSL transformations and stylesheets for XML sitemaps are completely ignored by search engines.

Explanation of XML Related Acronyms

  • XSL: Extensible Stylesheet Language. This covers a range of XML extensions.
  • XSLT: XSL Transformations. Used to transform XML files into other formats, e.g. XHTML.

Relevance for XML Sitemaps

When using an internet browser to view XML sitemap files without above, your browser may state there is no stylesheet associated with the XML document, and that it will use its default rendering instead.

That is not an error.

The XML sitemaps protocol has no mention of XSL and XSLT, and search engines have no use for them. Search engines read the raw XML sitemaps and extract the data as specified in the XML sitemaps protocol.

If you want to create sitemaps for your human visitors, you can take advantage of the rich support in A1 Sitemap Generator for both simple HTML sitemap and advanced HTML sitemaps.

Viewing XML Sitemap Files Without an XSL Stylesheet

When viewing XML files including XML sitemaps that do not provide any XSL stylesheet, most internet browsers will apply a default style.

This means the XML sitemaps appear visually different than their actual content. Here an example from FireFox:

xml sitemap file without stylesheet viewed in FireFox

To view the actual file contents, use view source in your internet browser or open the file in a text editor.

Adding XML Sitemaps Stylesheet XSL File

For standard XML sitemaps you can ensure A1 Sitemap Generator automatically includes a stylesheet.

You can either use the XSL stylesheet file always included in the installation or point our software to use another file:

xml sitemap stylesheet file

The code part looks like this in generated XML sitemap files:
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="sitemap.xsl"?>

When viewed in a browser the result will now look more like a normal webpage.
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