What Is a Sitemap?

20 Apr, 2022

What is it for, and how do you create one?

 Creating a sitemap is essential from an SEO point of view.

Let’s find out what a sitemap is and why it is useful to create one.

What Is A Sitemap?

The definition of a sitemap is this: it is a file that contains all the URLs of a website, listed according to a hierarchical set during creation, which we want to index on Google and other search engines.

In simpler terms, the sitemap can be seen as the index of a website, similar to what the index of a book is. The sitemap presents an overview of the structure of the content of a website to facilitate the search and identification of topics by users and search engines.

What Is A Sitemap For

Sitemaps allow search engines to accurately crawl your website and correctly find and index all pages. They essentially have 2 main functions:

  •   Help the user to find the content of interest on a website.
  •   Communicate to search engines the organisation of the site’s content to facilitate crawling operations and to obtain adequate indexing of all pages.

Sitemap Formats

There are essentially two most used sitemap formats:

HTML sitemap: it is an HTML page that shows all the URLs of the site to facilitate user navigation. The HTML sitemap is the “oldest” sitemap and was created mainly to orient the customer and improve his user experience. The XML sitemap, on the other hand, was invented by Google in 2005 to make it easier for search engine crawlers to crawl the site.

XML sitemap: it is a file in XML format that is used only to provide information to search engines on the structure of the website and on the frequency of updating the pages.

Why use Google sitemaps?

An XML sitemap allows webmasters to provide information to Google’s crawlers on the pages of their website by highlighting the hierarchies and correlations between the various elements and indicating specific data for each page, such as the date of the last update and the frequency of modification.

Sitemaps are recommended for:

  •   New sites to speed up the indexing by Google of the contents created.
  •   Websites to communicate new or recently updated pages.
  •   Sites with isolated content that are not well-linked to other pages of the site, thus preventing it from being ignored by Google.

The Benefits Of A Sitemap

In general, building a sitemap will not automatically help you reach the top of Google’s search results, but it is a vital action that will assist search engine crawlers in their work and speed up the crawling of your site.

How To Create a Sitemap

There is a specific XML metalanguage for generating sitemaps. If your site is developed with an open-source CMS like Joomla or WordPress, there are several extensions or plugins that can be right for you. Joomla uses JSitemap, while WordPress uses Yoast SEO.

Alternatively, you can use Google Search Console which allows you to upload your sitemap or create a new one.

There are also free online sitemap generators that you can use to create a sitemap such as:

https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/

http://www.makeasitemap.com/

Submitting A Sitemap To Google

Once the sitemap has been created, you’ll need to communicate your sitemap to Google via Google Search Console – to access it all you need is a Google account.

Creating and communicating an XML sitemap is a key aspect of SEO optimisation that should never be overlooked, especially on large sites.

You can learn more about SEO here

 

Need Help Creating a Sitemap for Your Website?

Creating a sitemap is often the job of webmasters, developers and SEO specialists – if you need expert advice about correct indexing of your site, UK Digital Marketing can help create a sitemap for your website for a complete SEO strategy.

We’re also one of the top-rated website design companies in Bristol.

 

Website Design Agency, Bristol UK

UK Digital Marketing is an award-winning digital marketing agency that creates high-quality, responsive websites and digital marketing solutions that enable you to engage with consumers effectively to grow and succeed online.

Contact us to get started.