Creating a sitemap is very easy. There are many automated tools to help you create a sitemap. In this SEO video tutorial, we’ll discuss the importance of having an XML sitemap for search engines, and an HTML sitemap for human visitors. We’ll show you how to check your website to see if you have a sitemap, and if you don’t have one, we’ll show you how to use a free tool to create both an XML and HTML sitemap.
What is a sitemap?
There are many types of sitemaps. An XML sitemap lists the pages of your website and the priorities of those pages. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. Once submitted to search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask, an XML sitemap helps search engine robots crawl and index the content of your website more efficiently. Here’s an example of an XML sitemap.
An HTML sitemap is a sitemap that allows human visitors to see a map of all the pages on your website, with each page listed as a hyperlink so visitors can navigate to that page from the sitemap. This usually allows people to find information more easily. Here’s an example of an HTML sitemap.
Why You Need a Sitemap
Sitemaps help search engines find the content of your website. Once found, search engines will rank your content for specific keyword searches, which allows searchers to find your website. As your sitemap updates, search engines find out about new content on your website quickly. In addition, sitemaps allow search engine robots to find content that is deeper within your website, and usually harder to find and index. This assures that search engines see all the content on your website.
How You Can Tell if Your Website Has a Sitemap
You can see if you have a sitemap by opening your web browser and going to your website. After the URL of your website, type in /sitemap.xml or /sitemap.txt.
For example: http://www.verticalmeasures.com/sitemap.xml.
If you see something like the example above, then you have a sitemap.
What to do if You Don’t Have a Sitemap
If you don’t have a sitemap, you can create one using a free sitemap generator. This tool will allow you to build an XML sitemap as well as an HTML sitemap. Once you’ve created your XML sitemap, you must upload it to your hosting server. If you choose to also create an HTML sitemap, then you must add that HTML to a page within your website. If you need help with this, please contact us or your webmaster.
Once you’ve create a sitemap, you may wish to submit your sitemap to the four major search engines:
- Submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools (requires login)
- Submit your sitemap to Yahoo (requires login)
- Ask.com sitemap submission
- Submit your sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools (requires login)
Here’s a detailed sitemap submission tutorial that walks you through each submission step-by-step.