What is a sitemap and why do you need it?
A sitemap displays the structure of your site. It helps users navigate your site and is crucial for better SEO rankings.
They’re also really handy as whenever your site is updated, your sitemap will notify relevant search engines about the changes.
There are two types of audiences a sitemap is useful for – site visitors and web spiders.
There are also two types of sitemaps: HTML and XML sitemaps:
- HTML sitemaps are for visitors – it helps users find information on your website, and can usually be found in a website’s footer.
- XML sitemap are for web crawlers – it tells them which parts of the site should be indexed as well as your hierarchy and priority of content.
Creating a sitemap and submitting it to Google
Getting a sitemap for your site is simple. You can do it in three steps:
- Generate a sitemap.
- Upload it to your site
- Notify Google about it.
Generating a sitemap: There are two ways to generate a sitemap – you can either download and install a sitemap generator or use an online sitemap generation tool.
There are a lot of options available here.
NOTE: If your site is built on WordPress, simply search for a sitemap plugin to automate this process.
Uploading a sitemap: Once you create a sitemap, you’ll need to upload it to your sites document root. This can be done inside cPanel:
- Login to your cPanel account.
- Go to File Manager
- Make your way to public_html
- Click Upload to upload your new file.
NOTE: If using a WordPress plugin, you won’t need to upload anything, as this will be automatically completed by a good plugin.
Submitting your sitemap: Now you need to upload it to Google/other search engines. Click here for a handy guide on getting started.
Sitemaps: tips and tricks
- When creating a sitemap, go back and make sure all of your links are correct.
- All the pages on your sitemap should contain a link back to the sitemap.
- Most SEO experts say your sitemap should contain 25 to 40 links.
- The anchor text (words that are clickable) of each link should contain a keyword whenever possible and should link to the appropriate page.
- Small sites can place every page on their site map, but is not a good idea for larger sites. You just don’t want search engines to see an endless list of links and assume your site is spammy or a link farm.