What is a Sitemap, How is it created

There is a huge misunderstanding about sitemaps. Many website owners, an HTML site in the site map ( sitemap ) After you create an XML sitemap thinks it necessary. Obviously, this is not the right approach. While having an XML sitemap is not essential for a website to function properly, it is recommended to have an XML sitemap on your website.

Table of Contents

What is a Sitemap? Why Should It Be Used?

Site map ( sitemap ) is a file that lists all the important pages to give you insight into what your content is about sites Google and other search engines. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to crawl your site smarter.

Even if you don’t have a sitemap, your website will still be indexed, but having a sitemap makes it easy. It also gives you the opportunity to provide information about pages of your website that cannot be easily discovered.

What are the Advantages of Sitemap?

As mentioned earlier, a website for your XML sitemap ( sitemap ) you create is not necessary. Because having a sitemap does not guarantee that your pages will be indexed, but it does not hurt your ranking. An XML sitemap can do you more benefit than harm.

If we list these benefits:

  • It helps search engines to understand the structure and content of your website more easily. As a result, it finds new pages, indexes those pages, and allows you to view them much faster.
  • A sitemap can tell search engines when your site was last modified, new content was added, etc. keeps information up to date. This helps search engines decide whether to re-index the website.
  • Sitemaps help you to quickly report changes to search engine bots, especially if you have a dynamic website with over 1000 pages.
  • If you have moved your site and search engines will be informed about a new list of URLs to be crawled and indexed, it is very useful to use a sitemap. It will also be useful for faster reading of the redirect information of your old pages if you have made a radical URL change without changing your domain name.

What Are Sitemap Formats?

A sitemap is a file that provides a list of URLs on your website for search engines. This list of URLs helps Google get more information while crawling your website. In most cases, a sitemap is formatted as an XML file. While Google supports sitemaps created as an RSS or .txt file, the XML file is the most common.

Now the site map ( sitemap ) format to a more detailed look:

1. XML

XML sitemaps are a widely accepted sitemap format for their ease of use and ability to provide additional information to search engine crawlers.

2. RSS

If you have a blog with an RSS feed, you can submit the URL of your content as a sitemap. Most blogging software can create a feed for you, but this feed only provides information on recent URLs. Google accepts RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 content.

3. .TXT

The text file with the .txt extension is a simple way to create a sitemap, especially for sites with fewer pages. You can create a .txt sitemap for yourself with the help of a simple text editor like Notepad.

Here’s what you need to do when creating your text sitemap:

  • Enter one URL per line.
  • URLs do not contain any other information.
  • Type full URL including http [/ Wn_list]

In addition to these general steps, each search engine can follow these guidelines:

  • The maximum number of URLs per file should not exceed 50,000. If your site contains more than 50,000 URLs, separate the list into multiple text files.
  • The text file size must be less than 10 MB (10,485,760 bytes).
  • The text file must use UTF-8 encoding. So make sure you save your text file in UTF-8 format.

Sitemap Extensions by Media Types

There are many extensions available to help provide additional information about the content contained in your sitemap file. These extensions can contain any of the following media types:

1. Visual XML Sitemap

The visual XML sitemap is made to provide Google with additional information about the images on your site and to optimize them for visual search. It helps search robots find the displayed images and can contain up to 1,000 images per page.

A separate visual site map ( sitemap ) can create or add images to your regular site map.

2.Video XML Sitemap

Similar to a visual sitemap, a video sitemap provides additional information about the video content on your site, it can be separate or embedded in a public sitemap.

You can add multiple videos to a page in your sitemap, but you need to make sure they are relevant to the page.

3. Google News XML Sitemap

This type of sitemap was created specifically for websites included in Google News. It provides faster crawling of the latest news published on your website. So it is necessary for news websites.

Google recommends adding up to 1000 URLs for each sitemap, including news published in the last two days.

Sample Sitemap Formats

There are several different types of sitemaps, so let’s dive deeper into each with examples.

1. XML Sitemap Example

Our sitemap.xml example for YourWebsite.com:

https://www.yourwebsite.com/pages-sitemap.xml

Pages are content we create for our services and locations, while posts represent content found in the blog section of our website.

You will often see several other columns of data in the sitemap:

  • lastmod is the data that this page was last modified.
  • changefreq shows how often the page will be updated with new content. This value gives search engines an estimate of how often they should crawl the page (however, it does not mean that it is tracked).

2. HTML Sitemap Example

The other type of sitemap is an HTML sitemap.

The purpose of the HTML sitemap is to allow users to easily navigate and find the pages on your website.

Similar to the XML sitemap, the HTML sitemap lists all the pages you want indexed in Google.

HTML sitemaps are also useful from Google bots to crawl and understand your website pages.

How to Create a Sitemap?

It’s easy to create static sitemaps using a tool like Screaming Frog . However, when you create or remove a page, your sitemap is out of date. If you change the content of a page, site map ( sitemap ) does not update automatically. So if you don’t like to manually create and upload sitemaps for each change, it’s best to avoid static sitemaps.

On the other hand, dynamic XML sitemaps automatically update the relevant website changes by your server.

To create a dynamic XML sitemap :

  • You can ask your developer to code a custom script.
  • You can use a dynamic sitemap generator tool.
  • You can install a plugin for your CMS (eg Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress).

If you want to create an XML sitemap from scratch, you can follow these steps:

1. Collect all URLs of your site

There are several ways to get a list of URLs for your website. The easiest way is to load all URLs from an existing file or use Screaming Frog.

If you are using Screaming Frog, first of all you can add your website links, images, CSS, etc. Browse and collect all linked links by exporting from here.

The most important thing to keep in mind when collecting URLs for a sitemap is to determine if you want Google to index the pages you specify. For example, your home page is most likely a page you want indexed, but your privacy policy or terms are not the pages you want to be indexed.

2.Encode URLs

Now that you have a list of URLs you want to include in your sitemap, it’s time to encode the URL in XML format. You will need a text editor like Sublime Text to encode URLs properly.

  • Start by opening a tag.
  • Next, add your URL using the and tags.
  • You can stop here if you want, but there are other optional tags you can use to add more detail to your sitemap. Optional tags are
  1. : The date the page was last modified.
  2. How often does the page change?
  3. How important this page is compared to your other pages.
  • Make the closing with the and tag.

Automatic XML sitemap ( sitemap ) If you want to create, Screaming Frog on how to create an XML sitemap and you can follow these steps:

1. If you think you have less than 300 pages on your site, install the free version of Screaming Frog. Once installed, go to Mod> Spider.

2. Paste your homepage URL into the box labeled “Enter URL to spider” and click Start.

3. When the scan is complete, look in the lower right corner. You will see a sentence that begins with Completed. This means your process is complete. If the number is 499 or lower, go to Sitemaps> XML sitemap.

4. Since Google doesn’t pay much attention to , and elements, you can exclude them from the sitemap file.

5. Click “Next” and save the sitemap to your computer.

Finally, instead of doing all these operations, you can automatically create a list of web pages within a site with online software. With sitemap generators, you can quickly create a map of website content of any size in just a few clicks. If you want to save time and effort, you can use Sitemap Generator Tool.

When using Sitemap Generator Tool, all you have to do is enter your URL. This sitemap generator tool will generate your sitemap instantly. With the Sitemap Generator Tool, you can download your sitemap or receive it by e-mail.

PRO Sitemaps allows you to index up to 1,500,000 pages. In addition, it allows you to automatically update your sitemaps, detect broken links and list them. However, you can also create video and image sitemaps with PRO Sitemaps.

How to Create a Sitemap for WordPress?

WordPress site map ( sitemap ) is to use the easiest and fastest way to create a plugin. However, you can do this manually if you want. It is possible to create a sitemap either by creating an .xml file or by using a special tool like XML Sitemap Generator or XML-Sitemaps.com. However, when creating a WordPress sitemap without the plugin, you run the risk of making mistakes and mistakes. That’s why you should use the Yoast SEO plugin.

It is very simple as the plugin automatically generates one sitemap (in XML format). This will be updated automatically as you add, change or delete content.

So how do you create a sitemap with the Yoast SEO plugin?

  • Install Yoast first and then enable it.
  • In your WordPress admin bar, hover over the SEO icon on the left and click General.
  • Next, click on the Features tab to enable your WordPress sitemap.
  • Don’t forget to click the Save Changes button.
  • In the next step, view your XML sitemap.
  • Just click the question mark next to XML Sitemaps.
  • Finish by clicking the View XML sitemap link.

If Yoast sounds confusing to you, you can also use one of the following plugins:

  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • All In One SEO Pack
  • Google Sitemap by BestWebSoft

Top 3 Sitemap Creator Tools

The three best tools for creating a sitemap are:

1. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a website crawler and sitemap generator. Free version, with just a few clicks an XML sitemap ( sitemap ) to create and allows you to detect broken links, so you can fix them to create a high quality site map. Regardless of the CMS you use, you can enter your domain name and instantly start browsing your website to create your map.

2. Yoast

Yoast is a WordPress search engine optimization and sitemap creation plugin. It offers a free version that automates sitemap creation with just one click. What’s more, you never need to recrawl your site; Yoast scans your site every time you change it and automatically updates the sitemap that you submit to search engines like Google.

3.XML Sitemaps Generator

XML Sitemaps Generator allows you to quickly generate a sitemap for small websites with up to 500 pages. It does not require registration and is free.

With this tool, you can download the Xml sitemap file or receive it via email and attach it to your website.

Which Sitemaps Should E-commerce Sites Have?

Sitemaps are especially important for e-commerce sites because e-commerce sites can have thousands of pages and new content or items added regularly. It needs to be added to the index as soon as possible and that, but a site map ( sitemap ) to be provided.

There are no rules about how many sitemaps you can have from an e-commerce site. But large e-commerce sites with thousands of pages should take advantage of segmented sitemaps. These include more focused sitemaps broken down by products and product categories, brand pages, and other attributes.

For example, an online electronics store specializing in smart TVs might want to create a custom sitemap for each brand it offers. In this case, the seller, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba TVs etc. create segmented sitemaps for

The main idea is to make sense about the segmentation process based on your ecommerce SEO strategy. If the keyword you want to rank for is “Samsung TVs” (and you have a lot of Samsung TVs in stock), it makes sense to create a custom sitemap for this brand.

How Many Sitemaps Should I Create?

Every site needs at least one XML sitemap. Having an updated XML sitemap is a really important SEO practice. However, large websites may need to split their URL lists into multiple XML sitemaps. This ensures that the number of page URLs per sitemap does not exceed the limit.

It is also recommended that certain file types be listed in their specific sitemap. For example, if you have videos on your site, you need to create a custom video XML sitemap to allow search engines to find your video files .

SEO Considerations When Creating a Sitemap 

Although a sitemap alone is not a ranking factor, it is still very important to SEO. Therefore, there are many rules to be considered in terms of SEO when creating a sitemap .

If we list these rules:

1. Only add important and responsive pages

It makes no sense to fill your sitemap with all pages on the website or products that are inactive on the site. So just add the relevant pages and products you want to appear in search.

Make sure that there is no:

  • Broken links (404 URLs)
  • Redirected pages (301 returned URLs)
  • Server error pages (5xx)
  • Non canonical URLs
  • Duplicate and thin content pages
  • Parameterized URLs, internal search pages, etc. that are set not to be indexed.
  • Pages blocked by robots.txt
  • Pages with noindex.
  • Site search results pages
  • URLs in another sitemap file
  • Service pages (terms of use, contact, privacy policy pages, etc.)

2.Categorize your sitemaps

If your site has more than 500 pages, these are likely broken down into product pages, blog posts, or a few categories you want. It is okay to place all these pages in a single sitemap, but that way you lose the opportunity to analyze your sitemaps better.

For example, when you submit a sitemap to Google Search Console , it shows you a report on issues, the number of discovered and current pages. If you have a separate sitemap for product pages, you can track product specific data.

3.Use a dynamic sitemap

XML sitemap; It’s not something you can create and forget if you plan to update, add or remove pages on your site. You need to refresh your sitemap after every significant change.

This is not a problem when you have a small site. However, if you have a relatively large e-commerce site, it’s almost impossible to create a new sitemap every time.

There are many plugins that create a dynamic sitemap for WordPress users, such as All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO . If you are not a WordPress user, you can ask a developer to create a custom script for you.

Submit Sitemap to Google Search Console 

Submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console allows your site to be crawled and indexed more effectively, as you have given Googlebot the full list of your site’s pages.

So how do you submit the sitemap to Google Search Console?

1. Sign in to Google Search Console .

2. Select your website on the sidebar.

3. Find “Sitemaps” heading in the left menu.

4. Remove old or invalid sitemaps (if any) such as sitemap.xml

5. Type “sitemap_index.xml” next to your domain name in the “Add a new sitemap” section to complete the sitemap URL.

6. Click the Send button.

Site Map Recommendations on How It Should Be

Now that you know everything about sitemaps from A to Z, we can move on to advice on what sitemaps should be like:

  • An XML sitemap is a list of the pages you recommend crawling. That’s why you don’t need to add every page of your website to the sitemap. Add pages and posts that are important to your website in your sitemap. Let these be pages with high quality content and more likely to bring organic traffic to your website.
  • Exclude pages with duplicate content.
  • Exclude pages with thin content. When it comes to optimizing a website for search engines, you don’t want to submit low quality index pages. It is not important how many pages you have in the index, but how many ‘good’ pages you have in the index.
  • Categorize your sitemaps.
  • Create separate sitemaps for images, videos, news.
  • Add your sitemap to the robots.txt file. You can also add the location of your sitemap to help search engines find your sitemap file more easily.
  • Include only URLs that Google can access. If you have pages blocked by robots or behind a password protected domain, do not include those pages in the sitemap.
  • Make sure your XML sitemap includes the ‘time of last modification’ field, a value that tells Google when a page was last modified. This is useful in situations where you want Google to re-index some pages of your website.


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