Here, we’re going to learn about proper sitemap creation. This Tutical will learn how to create or generate a sitemap, and why it is so important.
Definition on Wikipedia:
A site map (or sitemap) is a rundown of pages of a site open to crawlers or clients. It can be either a report in any structure utilized as an arranging device for Web configuration, or a Web page that rundowns the pages on a Web webpage, commonly sorted out in various leveled manner. Visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Site_map
A Sitemap is just a map of your site, which contains structure of a website, its sections, the links between them, etc on a single page. Sitemaps make navigating a website easier and having an updated sitemap on a website is good both for users and search engines. It is an important way of communication with search engines. While a robots.txt, tells search engines which parts of any site to exclude from indexing, a sitemap tells them where you’d like them to go.
Also XML sitemaps serve as a way to communicate directly with the search engines, alerting them to new or changed content very quickly and helping to ensure that the content is indexed faster.
How to create a sitemap?
A sitemap tells Google where it should go, so it can crawl your site more quickly and get more of your great content into the search results.
Having a sitemap is great for SEO, and it’s often great for users. But how to go about creating one? Luckily, it’s quite easy.
There are two types of sitemaps – HTML and XML.
An HTML sitemap is really just a list of links. If your site doesn’t have lots of rich media (videos, images etc) and is smaller (ie, has a relatively simple structure and doesn’t have lots of categories) this would be the way to go. Users typically prefer them because they help with navigation. (But be aware that Google formally recommends using the XML format because it’s recognized by other search engines.) If you do still want to create an HTML one, this sitemap generator creates HTML sitemaps automatically and quickly.
Using it is straightforward: put your web address (URL) where prompted and off you go.
Once it’s done, click the HTML link towards the bottom of the page and you’re done.
Once you’ve created your HTML sitemap, it’s best to upload it as a page, like www.YourSite.com/sitemap. This will help users find your content quickly. Some users will seek out your site map for that reason.
For example, Kiwi Corner Dairy who sell New Zealand groceries to expats, have quite a nice one:
It links to the relevant product pages. So, if I was looking for chocolate or drinks or books, I‘d know where to click. And so would Google.
Make sure your sitemap is keyword rich too, as this will help contextualize all those links for Google, who’ll reward you with better rankings on the keywords you’re targeting.
An XML site map isn’t visible to users, but they’re better if you have a large site. This is because you can create sitemaps within sitemaps. (Eg, in your main sitemap you can link to other sitemaps that map out a sub-category of your site). There are a number of free and paid tools available. I‘ve used XML-Sitemaps and like it.
To start with, you have a choice to make. Are you going to have one sitemap, or are you going to have lots? Basically, if your site is huge (say, over 50,000) pages, you’re best having more than one.
The purpose of a XML sitemap is to help Google find your key content more easily. Having multiple sitemaps helps Google get a sense of hierarchy so it can make your best content available super-quick.
If you just need one sitemap (I suspect this will be most of you), put in your domain, just as you did in the HTML example earlier and you’re off. You’ll then be given a URL which you can just click to download when you’re ready. That’s pretty much it.
The free version of this tool lets you map 500 URLs but if your site is bigger you can use a paid version.