What is a sitemap of a website?
A sitemap is like a map that tells search engines (like Google) about all the important pages, videos, and files on your website. It helps search engines explore and understand your site better. In the sitemap, you provide details about each page, like when it was last updated and if there are different versions in other languages. This helps search engines crawl your site more effectively and show your content to people who are searching for it.
How do I create a sitemap for my website?
Creating a sitemap can be done in different ways depending on the number of URLs you have.
For smaller sitemaps with just a few dozen URLs, you have the option to manually create the sitemap. To do this, open a text editor like Windows Notepad or Nano (Linux, MacOS) and follow the syntax provided in the Sitemap Formats section. You can give the file any name you want, as long as it uses URL-friendly characters.
However, manually creating larger sitemaps becomes more challenging and difficult to maintain over time due to the tedious nature of the process.
If you have a larger number of URLs, it’s recommended to generate the sitemap automatically. There are various tools available for generating sitemaps, but the best approach is to use your website’s software to handle this task. For instance, you can extract the URLs directly from your website’s database and export them to either be displayed on the screen or saved as a file on your web server.
By following these guidelines, you can effectively create and manage your sitemap, ensuring that search engines can easily discover and understand the content on your website.
What are examples of free sitemap generators?
Here are some of the most popular free sitemap generators:
- Google XML Sitemaps: A WordPress plugin, Google XML Sitemaps generates a sitemap that is compatible with various search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It helps search engines better index your site.
- Small SEO Tools: This online platform offers a sitemap generator tool that allows you to create XML sitemaps by simply entering your website URL. It also provides options to specify the maximum number of pages to include in the sitemap.
- XML Sitemap Generator: This online tool enables you to generate XML sitemaps for websites with up to 5,000 pages. It offers customization options, such as including or excluding specific URLs, setting the update frequency, and specifying the priority of pages.
How do I find my website sitemap?
While there are many ways to find your website’s sitemap, the two easiest are checking the .xml file or your robots.txt file. Here’s a detailed step-by-step way:
1. Check .xml File
The sitemap .xml file is usually found in the main folder of your website’s domain (e.g., https://www.websitedomain.com/sitemap.xml). The name of the file can be chosen by the person in charge of the website, and it can be placed anywhere on the website’s domain that is accessible to the public.
If you own the domain, you can use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to access your website’s file directory and locate the sitemap XML file. If you don’t have direct access to your site’s files, you can try typing some commonly used names for sitemaps into your web browser to see if any active files are accessible.
By finding and accessing the sitemap file, you can ensure that search engines can easily discover and index the pages of your website.
2. Check Robots.txt
It’s important for all websites to have a file called “robots.txt” that gives instructions to web crawlers and bots. This file usually contains a link to the sitemap, which helps search engines find the sitemap file easily and begin crawling the website.