What is Sitemap and How to create Sitemap for your Website
As the name suggests Sitemap, the map of your site (website). It gives direction to the crawler when it comes to your website for crawling.
By crawling I mean fetching information from your website and getting it indexed.
More about Google working click here.
If you don’t have a Map for your website, it will get crawled but not in an efficient manner as s website with a map.
” We have replaced Sitemap with the word “map” to match required keyword density”
We can take a real-life example here we visit a new place and start exploring it and we don’t have any map, we will definitely get confused and may not be able to explore it effectively.
When we have a Map, it will help us to explore the beauty of that place more efficiently.
The same way crawler is helped by sitemap to crawl each part of the website containing post, images, video, infographics, internal links etc.
Important: Whenever you create and upload new content you have to create the sitemap again and ask Google to crawl.
Google periodically crawl your website but if you want it to crawl immediately then in the Google Webmaster you can call crawler to crawl your website.
How can I create a Sitemap for my Website?
I will be explaining Google Sitemap Generator and Yoast SEO Plugin in detail which helps us in creating a Sitemap for a WordPress website.
For Non-WordPress website search on Google the best map for your platform which works under Google guidelines.
Important: Sitemap is not a static file means its need to be updated every time you create a new post or update your existing post.
Before getting into the topic let’s have a clear understanding of what not to include on the map of your website:
- Duplicate content
- Thin Content
- Pages that are blocked by Robots.txt file
The best way to exclude them is to either “no-index” them or put them all in a single category and exclude it.
Steps to Create Sitemaps:
So, we have two tools to generate i.e. Google Sitemap Generator Plugin and Yoast SEO plugin
Google Sitemap Generator:
The plugin is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository. Download and install it and then – move to Setting – Sitemaps.
- Carefully see all the points that I have checked, you can include other points as well as per your interest. But the other left options should be the least priority.
- Click Update
- Check if it is created at www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml
Note: Always include a sitemap in Robots.txt file because when Google crawler visits your website it always checks for Robots file first before visiting any other link of your website.
Yoast SEO Plugin:
- In your WordPress plugin section download and installs Yoast SEO plugin
- Click SEO – Sitemap
- Check the box with enable sitemap option
- Go to the various options like Post types, taxonomies tick the option which you do not want to include in the sitemap and we are good to generate a sitemap
- Go to General tab – Save Changes, bingo sitemap generated now let’s update the same in Google search console.
So, as explained above keep your sitemap link in Robots.txt file and the other way to do it and submit the link to Google is via Google Webmaster.
Tip: Submit it on both places for quick and efficient results.
How to update Sitemap on Root Directory:
- Open the C-Panel of your hosting provider
- Scroll down to files
- Click on File Manager
- Upload Sitemap.xml file
- Click refresh and it has been uploaded successfully
How to submit XML sitemap to Google?
- Login to Google search console
Note: If you do not have Google Webmaster account, then Sign up and connect your website with Webmaster before following the below steps.
Click here for more info.
- Click SITEMAPS under CRAWL.
- Click the button ADD/TEST SITEMAP located in the top right corner.
- Type in your sitemap filename (i.e. sitemap.xml) and click the Test SITEMAP button.
- Once the test is successful click on submit Sitemap button
Note: Check you sitemap extension by visiting General tab of Yoast SEO and click on test.
Generally, it takes Google a few days to a week to completely crawl your website, you can come back to Google search console to see the updates about how many pages get indexed and other related information.
Why Map of the website is so important:
- Google will quickly come to know about new updates on your website
- Google comes to know how often each page is updated with last modified option checked while creating it.
- Internal linking gets indexed quickly
- Improved SEO and overall Page Ranking
Why RSS feed is important Or How to create Map for a dynamic website?
RSS feed: RSS feeds are the files which contain latest files that you have updated on your website.
Dynamic Website: These are the website which changes its content dynamically or regularly. For example a sports website.
RSS feed will let Google know about the latest updates in the website, the size of RSS feed will be smaller as compared to sitemaps because it will only contain the new updates files
Interesting Reading related to Sitemaps:
1. Prioritize High-Quality content in your Map:
Whenever you create it always remember to include those pages/files which are of rich unique content and hold a higher value rather than low-quality content.
The reason is simple when crawler visits your website and you have listed low-quality content.
It might make Google think that this is not the website that user should be visited for this keyword.
Always try to include or prioritize the following type of content in your map:
- Unique Content
- Including images and videos
- Emphasize comments and based on reviews
2. Fix the Indexation Problem:
This is quite a problem for bigger websites like E-Commerce who have a lot of pages to monitor and contains dynamic content which gets regularly updated makes it harder for the user to maintain it.
When Google comes to your website and let’s say out of 20,000 pages 5000 were not indexed this will put really a bad impression when it comes to search engine ranking.
One of the solutions to this problem can be to segregate pages and generate a separate map for all then test them for possible errors.
Make the error pages “no index” and improve your page rank and domain authority.
3. URL included should be the Canonical Version:
This is really important for a product based website where you have a product with the same name but with slight varieties.
In this case, you must use “link rel=canonical” tag to tell Google which is the main category to crawl and index.
4. Never include “noindex pages” to your sitemap:
Noindex pages are those which you do not want Google to crawl them and by providing its URL in the sitemap you are doing a non-sense task.
Always double sure that you are giving quality information links to it for better results.
Learn | Implement | Success: Break the wall between them and add them to get better knowledge out of any article.