Sitemap

What is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a page that contains all the internal links of the website. This page is usually sorted by subject, relevance, or alphabetically. A sitemap enhances the usability of a website. In addition, sitemaps are of tremendous relevance to the websites of e-commerce companies, for example. These sites often have hundreds of pages. Search engine crawlers are not going to scan all these pages one by one. A sitemap offers the crawlers a easier solution when indexing (new) pages. There are different types of sitemaps and you can read more about this in the following paragraphs!

HTML Sitemap for Visitors

An HTML sitemap is the simplest form of a sitemap because it provides a simple, hierarchical overview of all the internal links on your website. A sitemap often appears in the footer of a website and creates a stronger internal link structure.

A sitemap contains important pages of your website, but also serves as an information tool for visitors. With the sitemap, users can easily navigate through the website. Below, we have added a copy of the site map of the United States House of Representatives:

XML sitemap for crawlers

A more complex type of sitemap is an XML sitemap, which functions as a kind of map for search engine crawlers. Google’s crawlers are constantly crawling (scanning) websites. With the XML sitemap, the crawler can very quickly see what links are on a website so that it can be indexed in the search engine. Sitemaps therefore also important for your websites SEO. The Seeders XML sitemap looks like this:

If you clicked on any of these sitemaps, you will get an overview of all the URLs covered by that particular sitemap. This should look like this:

How to Create a Sitemap?

Since there are different kinds of sitemaps, there are also several ways to create them. In this section, we will look into how to create a sitemap, possibly with the help of a generator.

Creating HTML sitemap in WordPress

You can create an HTML sitemap by simply adding the structure of your website properly on a page. First, check which main pages are the most important; these are often the pages that are also in your menu. Next, look to the main page to see what other pages are relevant. Keep in mind that your sitemap must remain uncluttered, choose a level of depth within your sitemap.

  • Log in as the administrator of your website.
  • Install ‘WP Sitemap Page’ as a plugin (Menu > Plugins > New Plugin > Search Plugins).
  • Create a new web page named ‘Sitemap’ and publish it.
  • Set up the plugin as preferred (link to page, number of columns, etc.).
  • Place an internal link to this sitemap page in the footer of your website.
  • Exclude pages from your sitemap (Menu > Settings > WP Sitemap Page).

Creating XML sitemap with Yoast SEO

  • Implementing an XML sitemap requires only a few technical steps.
  • Log in as the administrator of your website.
  • Install ‘Yoast SEO’ as a plugin (Menu > Plugins > New Plugin > Search Plugins).
  • Your XML sitemap will be created automatically by Yoast. Go to Yoast SEO > Features > XML sitemaps, to see your sitemap(s).
  • Edit your sitemap if necessary (Menu > Yoast SEO > Search View).
  • Add your sitemap to various webmaster tools such as Google Search Console. This will ensure that your sitemap is indexed faster by search engines.

Sitemap Generator

To create an XML sitemap, you can also use a free sitemap generator such as XML-sitemaps.com. Into this generator, you just paste the URL of the website you want a sitemap of. This generator crawls the website and then gives you a sitemap.

To implement it, follow these steps:

  • Download the sitemap file.
  • Upload the sitemap in the ‘domain root folder’ of your website.
  • Open Google Search Console and add your sitemap URL.
SEO Specialist

Tiemen is an SEO Consultant at Seeders Zwolle, where he combines his love for technology with a passion for problem-solving. He has a knack for diving deep into SEO algorithms, understanding the nuances, and applying them to improve client rankings. Tiemen’s expertise lies in his ability to transform complex SEO principles into understandable and actionable strategies for businesses of all sizes.