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How to Create a Sitemap

A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for Web design, or a Web page that lists the pages on a Web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.


What is a Sitemap and how does it work?

A sitemap provides text links of each page of a website to both humans and search engines.  They can be very helpful for search engines to understand what your site is about, especially if your main navigation is embedded in images, uses javascript, or Flash.  They are also very helpful for visitors to your site to help them quickly find the information  they are seeking.

There are two different types of site maps: xml and html sitemaps.

What is XML and HTML?

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. In 2005, Google introduced the xml sitemap.

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the main markup language for creating web pages and other information that can be displayed in a web browser.


How do you create a xml sitemap?

If your site is built on a WordPress platform, there are several plugins you can use that will create sitemaps for you.  If you need to create the sitemap yourself, checkout, a free sitemap generator tool.

There are different types of xml sitemaps you can create, depending on your site and the type of content it contains:

  • Basic web pages
  • Image sitemaps
  • Video sitemaps
  • News sitemaps

Make sure to Add your Sitemap to your Robots.txt File

It’s a good idea to reference your sitemap in your robots.txt file (typically located in your site’s root folder) by adding the following code: Sitemap:


Sitemap, an Important Marketing Tool

How do you Submit a Sitemap to Google?

Go to Google Webmasters  If you don’t have a Google account, create one.  If you do, login and click on “Add a site”, and enter the URL of your web site.

Google will ask you to verify you are the owner of the site.  You can do this by uploading a file Google provides to the root of your site, where your home page resides.  Once the site has been uploaded, click on “Verify”.

Once verified, click on the website you just added and choose “Sitemaps” > “Submit a Sitemap” button.  Enter in the sitemap.xml file name.

It will take a few days to update all of the web site’s info.  Check back and Google will provide you with all sorts of useful details about yours site.  You’ll be able to see the number of pages Google has indexed, monitor the health of your site by viewing “crawl” stats and errors, blocked URLs, and more.

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