What is a sitemap?

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Posted on March 24, 2020

What is a sitemap?

As its name suggests, a sitemap is a way of organising a website by submitting a text file containing a list of URLs existing on the website to search engines. They are important for SEO because they tell search engines & users the location of a page on your website, when it was updated, the updating frequency, and the importance of the page with regards to other pages on your site. 


HTML Sitemap vs XML Sitemap

There are basically two types of sitemaps: XML Sitemap & HTML Sitemap. While the former is for search engines, the latter is meant for human users.

An XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap helps search engines find your site’s pages in a more effective manner. Canonical URLs can also be assigned on the XML sitemap for the search engine’s reference. It can also include additional information (metadata) on each URL, with details of when they were last updated, how often they are updated, and the various language options available.

An HTML sitemap, on the other hand, allows users to easily navigate through a website. 

How to create a sitemap for your website?

If you’re ready for your website to get indexed faster by search engines, just follow these five easy steps to create a sitemap. 

P.S. You don’t need to be a tech wiz to do so.

  1. Review your pages
  2. Code the URLs
  3. Validate your code
  4. Add the sitemap to the root and robots.txt
  5. Submit the sitemap to Google

To create an XML sitemap and keep the search engines informed of changes to your site, you can try out this free online sitemap generator. In addition to an XML sitemap, it will also generate an HTML sitemap. You could also use a program like Screaming Frog to create a sitemap within one minute or less.

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