How do I create a sitemap?

What is a sitemap and why do you need it?

A sitemap displays the structure of your site. It helps users navigate your website and is crucial for better SEO rankings.

They’re also really handy as whenever your site is updated, your sitemap notifies relevant search engines about the changes.

There are two types of visitors a sitemap is useful for – people and web crawlers.

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 sitemaps are for web crawlers – it tells them which parts of the site should be indexed as well as the hierarchy and priority of your content.

Creating a sitemap and submitting it to Google

Getting a sitemap for your site is simple. You can do it in three steps:

  1. Generate a sitemap.
  2. Upload it to your site
  3. Notify Google about it.

Generating a sitemap: There are a few ways to create a sitemap – you can either use an online sitemap generator, use a live sitemap example (to edit and code your own), OR even better, if your site is built on WordPress, do yourself a favor and install the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. Trust us. You won’t regret it.

Uploading a sitemap: Once you generate a sitemap, you’ll need to upload it to your site’s document root. This can be done inside cPanel:

  1. Login to your cPanel account.
  2. Go to File Manager
  3. Make your way to public_html
  4. Click Upload to upload your new file.

NOTE: If using Yoast or any other WordPress plugin, you won’t need to upload anything, as this will be automatically generated.

Submitting your sitemap: Now you need to submit your sitemap to Google which has published documentation on building and submitting a sitemap.

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.
Updated on February 28, 2024

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