Sitemaps are not only important for Google but they are important for your visitor. Have you ever gone to a website and can’t find the page you were looking for? This is when a sitemap proves useful. The user can click on the sitemap and find a list of all the pages in your site and click on the page they need.
A link to the Sitemap is usually found in the footer of a website. All important pages should be in the footer, for easy access.
What are Sitemaps?
In technical terms a Sitemap is a link map of all the pages in your site. In layman’s terms, a Sitemap is a page that lists all your pages of your website, that the user can click on to go to that page. A Sitemap helps make your website more user-friendly, which is what Google and other search engines want.
Create a sitemap for your visitors
The purpose of a sitemap is primarily for your visitors, so if they cannot find a page in your site via your main menu, they can go to the sitemap and find the page they are looking for. You should also include a sitemap for your visitors.
Create a sitemap for the search engines
A sitemap helps the search engines find pages in your site too, and may help index these pages. The search engines take into consideration how user-friendly your site is, so including a sitemap for your users is important.
Learn how to create a Sitemap
At Let’s Build a Website, we can teach you how to create a Sitemap in our SEO consulting course. If you are interested in SEO or creating a Sitemap for your website – click here to learn more about our SEO Training & Consulting.
Here are some quick and easy steps to create an XML Sitemap below:
- Go to a FREE online Sitemap creator – e.g. https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
- Create your Sitemap and add it to your server in the main (root) folder
- Notify Google and Bing about the new Sitemap
In Google Webmaster Tools:
- Go to the Crawl section
- Click the Add/Test Sitemap
- Add the Sitemap URL
- Click Submit Sitemap
In Bing Webmaster Tools:
- Click “sitemaps” in the “configure my sitemap” and add your Sitemap
You can use a free online website to create your sitemap like:
Where do I add my sitemap?
If you have created your sitemap manually, then you will have to:
- upload the sitemap file to your server into the root folder of your site
- you can do this via CPanel and File Manager
- check that sitemap is working by typing in www.yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml
- this should display your sitemap
- then add the sitemap to your Google Webmaster account
Once you have created a sitemap, you should add a link to the sitemap in the footer area of your website. The is the most obvious place for the user to look for a sitemap.
All important pages like a sitemap, privacy, contact, terms, and conditions should always be included in your footer.
Create a User-friendly Sitemap
- Having an XML Sitemap is great for the Search Engines but it’s not very user-friendly
- So I would create an HTML version on your Sitemap as well for your visitors
- You can manually create an HTML Sitemap if you don’t have a lot of pages
- Just type the name of each page – in a new page called “Sitemap”
- And link each page to itself
- Then add a link to this Sitemap in the footer area of your site
- Otherwise, you could search for a free online tool to help you create an HTML Sitemap for your visitors
What Matt Cutt’s (Expert Google Guru) to see what he says about Sitemaps
If you have WordPress, then creating a Sitemap for your website will be easy. You can just install a plugin to so this. There are a few plugins that will do the trick.
An easy sitemap plugin that adds both an XML and an HTML sitemap to your site, which updates and maintains themselves so you don’t have to!
This plugin creates an XML Sitemap, that you can submit to Google and Bing.
This plugin create a HTML Sitemap.
Concluding – Why you should Create a Sitemap
Every website should have both an XML and an HTML Sitemap. XML for Google, Bing and other Search Engines, and an HTML Sitemap for the user.
There are a few simple ways to create a Sitemap as discussed above.
Good luck and contact us if you need any help with creating a Sitemap for your website.
Web Designer/Trainer – Adv Dip, Dip, TAE
Jodi is a qualified WordPress Trainer and Designer with an Advanced Diploma in Digital Media (2D And 3D Animation, Web Development) and a Diploma in Web Development. She has been a Website Trainer at the Northern Beaches Community College since 2008 and a WordPress Tutor for NSW TAFE since 2016.
Jodi has developed several web design courses including, a WordPress Beginners Course and Build your own WordPress Website for small businesses. These courses will teach you how to update and manage your website ongoing. Giving website owners more control over their website, thus helping to keep costs down.
View her credentials here.