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Have you ever heard of a sitemap? Websites use these handy little maps to improve their SEO and their customer experience. In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the things that you need to know about creating a sitemap, why they are important and how you can submit them to Google. Keep reading to find out more.

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What is a sitemap XML?

An XML sitemap is a file that lists your website’s important pages. This means that Google, Bing and any other search engine can find and crawl them using their crawlers. Essentially, the sitemap acts as a literal map of your website, helping the crawlers find the important pages. It also helps the search engines to understand the structure of your website, making sure that it crawls through every page.

A lot of people use internal links to point to other areas of their website. But, if this isn’t the case on some pages on your site, a sitemap can be extremely useful. It will help speed up the process of content discovery, which is essential for your SEO.

Types of sitemaps in SEO?

There are two types of sitemap when it comes to SEO. The first is an XML sitemap which we spoke about a little above. This option is the sitemap for the business to utilize to ensure that crawlers know what they are doing.

The other option is the HTML sitemap which is a little different. This sitemap will include every single page that is on the website, including the main pages and lower-level pages. They are generally organized as a table of content to ensure easy access and scanning through the list. Essentially, a HTML sitemap is a clickable list of pages on a website. This sitemap serves the website visitors, making their journey through the site easier.

Why are sitemaps important?

Sitemaps are important because they are the very thing that let people navigate around your website. You want Google to crawl through every page on your website, but focus on the most important ones, right? Well, an XML sitemap will do this for you. An example that you should think about is the fact that if a page doesn’t have internal links to them, that doesn’t mean that you don’t want the page to be visible, does it? Well, in terms of SEO it would be, which is where a sitemap comes in handy.

Generally, you will find that all sites benefit from a sitemap. However, big websites and new websites are some of the ones that will benefit the most.

How to create a sitemap?

Sitemaps aren’t that difficult to make as long as you know what to do. As such, you need to start  by looking at your website and looking at how everything is already structured. There are sitemap templates that you can use to make everything a little bit simpler too. Start from the homepage and then work your way through the site so that you get an idea of how the sitemap will end up looking. Make sure that you are identifying the importance of each page for your map while doing this.

Once you have done this, you are going to need to code the URLs. As soon as they are coded, you will then need to validate the code. The reason for this is that human error is always a possibility when you are coding manually. The biggest issue here is that if there are any mistakes in the coding, it’s going to make your sitemap function incorrectly.

The next step is going to be to add your sitemap to the root and robots.txt. To do this, locate the root folder of your website and add the sitemap to the folder.

How to submit a sitemap to Google & Bing?

After going through all the steps to create your sitemap, you are going to need to submit it to Google and Bing. This can be done through the Google Search Console, which is pretty easy to set up if you have not already done this.

When you go onto the search console, click on the coral option on the left hand side, and then click on sitemaps. From there, you will see a button that says add/test sitemap. You can then do one final test of your sitemap for any kind of error and fix any if one has slipped through. Once this has been completed, everything is done. Google will sort everything else, and crawlers will be able to index your site without issue.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you need to know about how you can create a sitemap and so much more. A sitemap is going to be an extremely important part of your site eventually, so the sooner that you can get it uploaded, the sooner the crawler can start using it. banner

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