A sitemap tells your visitors but also the search engines how your website is structured. Why is this so important? What does a good sitemap look like? What is a site map? We explain and give some tips.
A sitemap is an overview of the structure of your website, showing the pages where important content can be found. The traditional map is a static HTML file , which shows the first and second levels of your site’s structure. This way your visitor immediately sees where he can find certain content.
Over the years, the sitemap has become a tool for the search engines so that they can find and index all parts of your website. That is why these days it is made as an XML file for search engines, easy for the spiders to read.
While some browsers can display the XML file in comprehensible form on your website, it is still recommended to offer both types of sitemaps (HTML and XML) to satisfy both search engines and your visitors.
Without a sitemap, your site’s content will be indexed based on the backlinks to your site from other sources. For example, if a popular site links to a posting on your site, Google will visit that page and add it to its index. However, if the search engine does not find a sitemap, it will not know that there is other content on your site. If, on the other hand, the search engine does find one, you have a better chance that your other pages will also be indexed. In addition, a new page that you create and add to your sitemap is picked up faster by the search engines. More pages, picked up faster, and therefore a higher ranking in the search engines.
If you have a complex website with a lot of content or a rich archive of your content, your sitemap tells the search engine which content needs to be indexed. Do not include pages that should not be indexed in the folder and include the meta tag “noindex”.
With the sitemap you give the search engine bots a nicely mapped out route to browse and index your site. Without a sitemap, the spiders will haphazardly scan pages and links, causing additional server load. The sitemap therefore means less tax, which is beneficial for your hosting costs!
Basically you create an HTML sitemap in the form you want; this can be a static HTML page or a dynamic one, driven by, for example, a PHP script. Fortunately, there are countless tools on the web to create a sitemap.
The better sitemap generators will even create sitemaps in multiple forms: an XML sitemap, an RSS-based map, a text-based map, and an HTML-based map.
The instructions may differ depending on the tool you are using. But in general you proceed like this:
A sitemap will help your website index faster and help your content rank higher.