What Is a Sitemap and It’s Importance?

What Is a Sitemap and It’s Importance?

What is a sitemap: Tracking bots (like GoogleBot crawler of Google) are responsible for the different travel websites to index your CONTENT or and display it in search results. We are going to see what a sitemap is and how to guide the bot in the tour of our site will allow us to obtain a better SEO positioning .

What is a sitemap and what is it for?

sitemap is nothing more than a website map , that is, a hierarchical organization chart of all the pages and contents that make up the site: it is a guide that is designed to help the crawler in their crawling and indexing task. Do not forget that this process is one of the most important in terms of SEO positioning: crawling bots explore websites to find which pages are most relevant for each search reason. The sitemaps consist of the main directions of the website, and hierarchy and architecture of these links.

To see the sitemap of a website, we can: l Type, just after the domain name, the paths /sitemap.xml , /sitemap-index.html or /sitemap_index.xml .

l Access the robots.txt file which, if it exists, is usually available at the path [domain name] /robots.txt ; at the end of its content, we will be able to see the exact location of the sitemap . Through a well-structured sitemap , we will be helping the crawler to follow a specific itinerary within our site, listing the URLs that we consider most relevant and helping the indexing process to be faster and more efficient . In addition, we may provide information to the crawler bot about certain specific types of content on our site, which will help the search engine to list them correctly. For instance:

  •  Video entries : we can provide the duration, category or age rating.
  •  Image entries : we can include your themes or license types.
  •  News or blog entries : we can add the title of the article and its publication date.

And, ultimately, we will benefit from a good SEO positioning : by facilitating the work of the crawler bot, we will ensure that our most remarkable or representative content that responds to a search intention is correctly listed in the engine results (Google, Bing, Yahoo…).

Is it essential to have a sitemap?

The sitemap is really a tool to support indexing, as we have seen in the previous point; However, if the website consists of only a few pages and all of them are easily accessible to each other (through, for example, an always visible menu that allows to reach any page), or if there is hardly any multimedia content , it will not be necessary to have a sitemap .

Now, it is highly recommended that you include a sitemap when:

  1. You have many isolated or unlinked pages : lacking good internal linking, the crawler might not crawl them.
  2. Your site is made up of many pages , so the bot could skip them in the indexing process.
  3. You hardly receive inbound links from other websites, which would make it difficult to crawl from those pages.
  4. Your site includes a relevant amount of rich media content (images, videos, or news).
SITEMAP EXAMPLE

Sitemap formats

XML

An XML sitemap includes a list of URLs in a specific format (the XML tagging language ), which is aimed at SEO optimization. It is written with specific editors, and there are tools that help with its creation. It also allows you to add images or videos, and it is the most popular format to create these files.

TXT

You can also create sitemaps in plain text with any editor like Notepad, Word or Wordpad; however, this format does not allow the incorporation of certain important information, such as modification dates or organization of the pages.

Atom-RSS

This format is specially designed for blogs , so that the news section itself works as a sitemap , but using the post’s publication date as a priority factor.

How to create a sitemap

Generating a sitemap is a process that can be done manually , by editing the text or XML file, and including the URLs and content with which we want to help the tracking bot. However, given the importance (and complexity) of the format and syntax, what we recommend is to use a tool that automatically creates the site map, or that includes a wizard to generate it: for example, if we have created the website with WordPress, we can use some specific plugins for this task such as YoastSEO .

 

We may also use a simulator crawlers as GSiteCrawler , which will analyze our website and create the sitemap fully automatically. Additionally, there are also tools to create my website’s sitemap online such as XML-Sitemaps and an extension for browsers called Sitemap Generator . We have seen what a sitemap is and the way in which it contributes to improving the SEO positioning of a site: however, you must take special care in its preparation and writing, because it could not have served anyone.

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