Site-map refers to a "map of a site" and Just as it could be hard for humans to find new places without a map. It could be hard for Google or any other search engine to find all your website's pages without a sitemap.
In this article, I will show you how to create a successful sitemap, and how to submit a sitemap on Google. But first, let's cover the basics of sitemaps.
What exactly is an XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap is basically a list of all your important web pages/files that you want to be indexed on the Search engine. This practice is important for SEO because it helps Google to understand your website, crawl it, and rank it higher on search engine results pages!
Fact: A sitemap can only have 50,000 URLs. And it can't be more than 50MB in size. If your sitemap has more than that, you will need to make a bunch of them.
What's the purpose of Sitemap?
Search engines use crawlers to crawl all your web pages, and sitemaps instructs these crawlers to index only those web pages that are listed in the sitemap.
Sitemap file makes it easier for Google to crawl and index all of your requested pages, if they are eligible.
How to create an XML Sitemap?
Most of the content management system (CMS), automatically generates an XML sitemap for you whenever new pages or posts are added to the site. If it doesn't, there's usually a plugin that will do so, or you can create a manual file.
Here I will show you how to make a sitemap for the most popular types of CMS.
Wix is one of those CMS that automatically creates a sitemap for you. Wix sitemap file automatically includes all the web pages but if you want to exclude any individual web file from the sitemap then you can simply turn the “show this page on SERPs” switch off.
You can enable or disable it from Menu> SEO > Settings > show this page on SERPs > Off
To create a WordPress sitemap, you can use Yoast plugin:
- First, you must have to install the Yoast plugin.
- Then you will have to activate that plugin.
- Once you will install and activate the plugin, you will have to make sure that “XML sitemap” feature is enabled.
You can enable or disable it from Menu > SEO > General > Features > XML Sitemap > On/Off
Once you are done with setting up the plugin, it will automatically create a sitemap for all your webpages.
If you don’t want to index any specific webpage on SERPs then you can exclude it from the sitemap file. You can do this by disabling that page from the “advanced meta box” within the editor.
TIP: If you want to know other ways to rank your WordPress sites ,then we already have a blog on it.
Sitemap for without CMS websites
To create sitemap for without CMS sites, you will have to:
- Install the Screaming Frog. You can install it’s free version, if your domain consists of less than 300 pages.
- Once you have installed it, Go to Mode > Spider
- Enter your domain’s homepage URL in the box “ Enter you URL to spider it”
- Press START button
- Wait until the crawling completes, Once it will be finished you will be notified through the status bar.
- Go to Menu > Sitemaps > XML Sitemaps
- Choose which section you want to include in your sitemap file.
You can choose it according to your needs, but it's better to only choose “include pdf” if it consists of relevant material. The other options would better to be neglected because:
“Non Index pages” are the ones that your developer sets for no index. It could be some personal information or code so it's better to not include them in your sitemap file.
“Canonicalized URL” means multiple URLs pointing to the same page, may confuse the Crawler so it's better to neglect them as well.
“Paginated URLs” are the navigational URLs and that could be dangerous if you are not an expert, so better to left it unmark.
- You can set Last modified, Priority, and Change frequency setting at its default.
- Finally hit the Next button, and your XML sitemap will be successfully created.
Create a manual Sitemap:
If you want to create a manual sitemap file, you can simply create it. I am mentioning the method below:
Lets breakdown the code: XML Declaration:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> It informs Search engines that they are reading XML files. For sitemap, the version and encoding should be the same as mentioned in the example.
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> It informs Search engines which protocol standard is used. Sitemaps files, supported by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft use 0.9 standard.
<url> <loc>http://www.example.com/foo.html</loc> <lastmod>2018-06-04</lastmod> </url>
It’s called parent tag, used for individual URL representation. where,
<Loc> tag indicates the URL address. <lastmod> indicates the date when the specific URL was last modified.
Here you can add more tags, including: <priority> tag, that specifies the page priority within the range of 0 to 1. Where 0 indicates low priority and 1 indicates high. <changefreq> tag, that informs Search engine that how frequently you modify your web page so, the search engine could recrawl it accordingly. The possible values include hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, always, and never.
If you’re doing this manually, name the sitemap file something like sitemap.xml and upload it to the root folder of your website.
How to Submit a Sitemap on Google:
Here I am mentioning a clear, complete, and easy steps for submitting the sitemap on Google:
- Login to your Search Console account:
- Add your website domain Go to Menu > Add Property > Enter domain
- Select sitemap from menu
- Remove Outdated / Invalid sitemap, If any:
- Add New sitemap, and submit it.
Your sitemap URL will be domain.com/sitemap.xml
Sitemaps are important for both your website design and your SEO strategy. It is important that you have one, and as it is not hard to make you can have it today.
Once you are finished with this, you can also perform a website audit with Google SEO tools to see what other things are making it hard for the site to rank.
In case of any query or further information, feel free to reach me at: [email protected]