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SEO 23 min read August 28, 2020

5 Easy Steps To Create A Sitemap For A Website

how to create a sitemap
Евгения Сидорчук
Moss Clement
Founder of Moss Media
Do you need a sitemap for your blog or website? Are you wondering how to create a sitemap that will enhance the crawling and indexing of your website? If you're in this situation, this article will help you significantly.
Creating a sitemap for your business blog or website is a fantastic growth strategy that will help you increase visibility on searches. Why? Because it lets Google and other search engines know the essential pages on your site.
A sitemap offers valuable data about page updates and other files, allowing Google to crawl and index your website faster. In other words, Google will discover your site pages quickly with the help of a sitemap if you link them appropriately. It helps improve website crawling.

But if you're new to website SEO, you may want to know, "what is a sitemap?" And "what is the objective of a sitemap on your website? There are valuable reasons for having a sitemap. But, before I deliberate on that, consider the meaning or definition.
What is a sitemap in a website
For a site map definition, it is a list of files that embodies pages or URLs of different pages on your website. A sitemap shows the relationships between pages and helps Google and other search engines understand what pages on your site are most valuable.
It also tells search engines about a new webpage on your site and recently updated pages. Although there are different types of sitemaps, webmasters regularly create XML Sitemaps with links to various pages on your blog or website.
Why sitemaps are important to your business website
A sitemap is essential because Google and other search engines use it to locate the different pages on your website. In other words, a sitemap on your site makes it easier for search engine crawlers to find your web pages. This step is vital for SEO as it enables Google to crawl, index, and rank your content pages.

So, having an XML Sitemap on your blog or website is essential as it can boost your SEO. As a web owner, you can use an XML Sitemap to show Google details about vital pages or particular content you want to be crawled and indexed. For this, Google points out that, if your web pages are correctly linked, the Google web crawlers can easily find your pages.

It also helps to improve the crawling of larger and more complex files on your site. However, due to Google algorithms' complex nature, a sitemap on your blog or website does NOT guarantee that Google robot will crawl and index all the pages on your Sitemap.
Besides that, the benefits of the XML Sitemap are beyond imagination. Please, consider a few advantages of a sitemap.
Benefits of a sitemap
There are several reasons and benefits why you should care about creating a Sitemap for your blog or website. As stated earlier, a Sitemap on your site tells Google about your pages and allows search engine crawlers to crawl and index your pages faster.

Since, it notifies Google and other search engines about new content and updated pages on your online space, Sitemaps fantastic tools for enhancing SEO ranking. So, not only does a Sitemap makes navigating your website seamless, but it provides improved search visibility on SERPs.

The more your web pages get crawled and indexed, the better your chances of ranking higher on Google. And the more traffic and leads you will generate. That said, please, note that I focused on the XML Sitemap for this article.

Here are some outstanding benefits of a Sitemap:
Sitemaps help websites earn better indexation.
XML Sitemap notifies about essential web pages on your site.
Assist search engines with faster crawling and indexing.
A Sitemap tells Google what content you have on your pages.
A Sitemap also tells search engine bots what pages to crawl on your website.
XML Sitemap informs Google crawler of new content and updated articles on your site.
The Sitemap enables immediate indexation for dynamically-generated pages.
Sitemap assists in subduing the challenges of a weak internal and external link profiles.
Creating a Sitemap is one of the SEO best practices that help to improve SEO strategy.
Types of sitemaps
There are about six different types of sitemaps, such as a sitemap used when planning a website design—a sitemap for page hierarchy, Sitemap for structured listings for web crawlers, etc.

But marketers often use the XML sitemap and the HTML sitemap that enables web users to navigate a site seamlessly. Nonetheless, there are four major types of sitemaps, and this includes:
1
The XML Sitemap: The XML is the most used type of Sitemap that links to various pages on your site.
2
Video Sitemap: Like an image site map, a video sitemap allows Google bots to find and understand what video content you have on your web pages.
3
Image (photos and infographics) Sitemap: Since images are a prominent component of content marketing, image site maps enable Google and other search engines to discover image content materials on your site.
4
News Sitemap: As the name suggests, the News Sitemap helps Google determine content pieces on websites that qualify for Google News.
Google presented the Sitemaps etiquette to help website owners and web developers publish and submit essential page links. This process is crucial since sitemap data collections have URLs to essential pages of your blog or website. In that way, web crawlers can quickly discover, crawl, and index your pages.
Sitemap examples
Below are a few sitemap templates to give you a clear picture of a sitemap image. In the above sections, I talked about what sitemaps are, the importance of Sitemaps on your site, and types of Sitemaps. Nonetheless, keep in mind that when creating a Sitemap for your website, it should comply with the following elements:
Start with a <urlset> tag as an opener, and stop with an ending <urlset> tag
Must define the namespace or protocol standard inside the <urlset> tag
It should contain an <url> entry for every URL you're presenting as a parent XML tag
Must add a <loc> child entry for the individual <url> parent tag respectively.
That said, here are a few sitemap samples to consider:
The sample XML Sitemap indicates a single page URL entry that has two images. Two visuals are not the maximum you can for each page. You can enter as many as 1,000 images per page.
The second example is an XML Sitemaps Index that has two Sitemaps listed within:
Note: Although you can add several URLs to a Sitemap, all the URLs must come from the same host, namely https://serpstat.com or any other single host. Put differently: the orientation of your Sitemap decides what URLs you will add to that particular Sitemap.
How to create a sitemap that will improve website crawling
Since you want your website pages crawled, indexed faster, and rank on SERPs, pay attention to the pointers below. You will learn valuable tips that help you create Sitemaps that work effectively.

Note that there are two primary ways of creating a sitemap, and these are:
1
You can generate sitemap files manually.
2
You also have the option to use third-party tools for Sitemap and or plugins.
I will highlight how to create your Sitemap manually and outline the best tools for building a sitemap using third-party tools.

#1 Study the sitemap standards for each search engine platform
The first step to creating a viable Sitemap is to study the technical standards or requirements of each search engine platform. There is Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others. Define their needs to help you build a sitemap that improves crawlability.

For instance, you can develop TXT or XML format Sitemaps, which lets you encode files using the encoding=" UTF-8" code. What's important is to know how such an approach works on all search engine platforms before developing your Sitemap.

Also, at the planning stage, contemplate what you want to achieve with your site. Also, take to mind who you want to attract to your blog or website. Define the type of content you want to provide your audience. Each search engine favors quality content and pages, so you want to ensure that the pages you recommend to Google are top-notch.

If otherwise, searchers who visit your page from the search engine will leave immediately. And when there are more bounce rates, Google will deem your site irrelevant. So, quality is a requirement of all search engines. It helps improve user experience (UX) and boost SEO.

#2 Examine your website architecture
After determining the various requirements for each search engine website, evaluating your site structure is next. Look at your existing pages to see how well they are structured. Does the architecture of your website reveal well-organized pages?

The best way to determine your site architecture is to study a stable sitemap template.
The graphic shows how to structure your web pages for easy crawling and indexing. This architecture is a basic website structure you can quickly replicate. The homepage is a standalone page that has all other pages connected to it.

However, if you're conversant with SEO, you understand that your site's pages are not identical or comparable. Some pages require more clicks to gain access, while others take just one click. So, the further a page from your homepage, the less likely it will rank. For this, when structuring your web pages, try to create a shallow architecture without much depth.

A well-organized site structure is valuable for SEO. Therefore, take into consideration how each page links to the other to form a fantastic sitemap. The point is, you should arrange individual pages in ways that make visitors, site users, and Google spiders navigate your blog or website with ease.

According to Google, website crawling starts with a collection of web addresses from previous crawls, including sitemaps offered by web owners. So, Google crawlers use links on your websites to find other pages, new content, and updated materials.

Hence, ensure to organize your site architecture and links appropriately for easy crawling and indexing. You can take inspiration from the sitemap example in this section or the one at the "what is a sitemap" section above.

#3 Know the factors that impact website crawlability and indexability
Why is identifying this element so important? Although Google bots can crawl your site, it may not index the pages due to some factors. Thus, understanding these elements will enable you to develop a well-structured website that is easy to crawl. That said, what items affect site crawling and indexing?
1
Website structure: If you organize and structure your website pages properly, Google will crawl and index your pages. Otherwise, it won't.
2
Internal link structure: Web crawlers walk through your site and find pages by following links that connect to other pages. It means that, with a stable interior architecture combining your pages, search engine crawlers will crawl and index your website faster.
3
Website mobile-friendliness: A mobile-friendly site indicates that your blog or website adapts to any mobile device. It means that users can seamlessly access your site from their mobile devices the way a desktop user would.
This step is vital because users conduct more searches online via mobile devices. For this reason, not long ago, Google adopted a new indexing strategy. It shifted from indexing desktop version to mobile-first-indexing, preferring mobile version websites over desktop. The concept is that Google chose mobile-first websites as its primary indexing strategy. It means that to get your site crawled and index faster, you should make it responsive and mobile-friendly.
1
A redirect loop: redirect loops happen when your browser redirects users to a page, and redirect them to another and eventually stop. A broken link redirect prevents web crawlers from crawling and indexing your pages.
2
Server errors: just like broken link issues may prevent crawling; server errors could also stop search engine crawlers from accessing your pages for indexing.

#4 Create your XML Sitemap manually
With knowledge of your website structure, search engine requirements, and the factors impacting crawlability and indexability, you should start creating your Sitemap. Develop it by coding the URLs of your pages. For this, use any text editor, particularly if you're building a small sitemap.

Establish your file and name it "Sitemap." Next up, modify the file extension to .xml and enter all the absolute URLs you want Google to index. Complete the optional gaps as well. If you're new to blogging and SEO, you may be wondering, "what is an absolute URL?" An absolute URL is a link with all the information needed to identify an asset or page.

You can compare an absolute URL to a long-form essay. Longer articles have more valuable data than shorter materials and rank better on search for different keywords. Similarly, absolute URLs have complete detail to find resource pages.

The resource item can be web pages on your site, a website, files, or documents. But keep in mind that an absolute URL is different from a "relative URL." A relative URL uses an absolute URL to discover resources and comprises the path, which refers to the location of the asset. Relative URLs have less information than an absolute URL

An example of a complete URL is https://serpstat.com/blog or https://serpstat.com/use-cases/ and similar URLs. Moreover, if your website URL includes the world wide web (www) initials, ensure to add it as well. In most cases, you will require coding skills to code your URLs properly.

That is because of any mistake you make while developing your Sitemap will render your effort useless. Consequently, you have to validate your work.

#5 Confirm your codes
As I stated above, you might make some unseen errors that will negatively affect your Sitemap. So, after completing your task, you should validate the codes to ensure that the syntax or structure is well organized. The best way to tackle this issue is application software. Third-party tools will make life easy for you.

Therefore, go to Google search and enter "sitemap checker, sitemap validator, sitemap validation," or any related terms. And it will present you with a host of tools that will help you confirm your Sitemap is excellent.

The most prominent of all is the XML Sitemap Validator. It is widely used and functions incredibly well. A sitemap validator tool will pinpoint any errors or mistakes you may have made along the way.
Top online Sitemap generator tools
Several sitemap generator software is available to you. These tools work in similar ways and will help you create a well-functioning sitemap for your website in minutes. So, it is a win for everyone―site owner, web designer, and website developer as these automation tools will take the work off your hands.

That said, consider the following tools below.

Serpstat Page Audit
You are creating a sitemap to ensure that Google and other search engine crawlers crawl and index your pages. For this, ensure to submit only important pages with quality content. But how can you consistently submit quality web pages without SEO optimization deficiencies? Serpstat is a handly website audit tool for this purpose.

With the Serpstat Page Audit features, you can audit your entire website to:
1
Find domain optimization deficiencies or loopholes within your site.
2
Discover technical SEO issues that prevent crawling and how to fix them.
3
Improve your domain crawl rate.
The audit feature lets you conduct a thorough audit of your web pages and shows you how strong your pages are performing. Also, the auditing processes include solving several SEO ranking factors. Put differently, the Serpstat Audit tool gives you a comprehensive website analysis that includes SEO optimization errors and provides suggestions on how to fix the issues.

Therefore, you have a competitive advantage since the software crawls your site and offers you valuable information on how to improve your website and content to rank on Google.

XML Sitemaps Generator
The XML Sitemap generator is one of the best software due to its ease of use. You don't need to download or create an account to use the application software. If your website is relatively small, this tool is useful for you because it can contain up to 500 pages for the free version.

It also offers a premium for those with much larger websites. The pro-version will index as much as 1,500,000 pages and frequently update your Sitemap automatically. Also, while crawling your site to create your Sitemap, the XML sitemap generator will spot broken links and notify you accordingly.

All you have to do is to enter your site URL in the box and hit the "Start" button. It will crawl your website and create your Sitemap in a few minutes. Some of the tools on the list here are free sitemap generators while others are premium, or offer both freemium and paid services.

Sitemap Writer Pro
The Sitemap Writer Pro is among the top sitemap generators you can leverage. As one of the fastest sitemap creators available, it provides seven types of sitemaps. They allow Google to index your website adequately and support millions of website URLs.

So, whether you're a beginner or have a great website, the software is user-friendly for all web owners. It helps you improve SEO visibility on searches and drive organic traffic. Some of its outstanding features include:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Auto-checking for broken links
  • Duplicate content checking
  • Ready-made settings for popular CMS
  • Search engine notification of your Sitemap

Moreover, Sitemap Writer Pro offers you more options for adding URLs to your Sitemap. You can import files from FTP servers or hard disks. You also have the choice to manually add URLs or automatically produce URLs to add to your Sitemap.

Inspyder Sitemap Creator
The Insider Sitemap Creator or Sitemap Creator 5 provides you an incredibly easy way to create a sitemap for your website. The sitemap tool works for all types of websites, from small to large. Moreover, it also crawls complex sites.

With the ability to create different kinds of sitemaps for Google, the Insider Sitemap Creator pulls out details of your caption and metadata and adds them to your Sitemap. Did you know, the software offers webmasters and web owners ease of use, and allows you to generate precise XML Sitemaps.

You can schedule your sitemap creation with an option to produce sitemaps for mobile pages. There are no restrictions as you can add as many URLs as you desire. This sitemap creator tool is ideal, also because if you update your site regularly, you can periodically schedule updates for the software via settings. From there, you can set daily, weekly, or monthly updates, and it will update your files accordingly.
Wrapping up
As a web owner, your primary objective is to drive traffic and increase sales. For this, SEO is paramount to your content marketing success. Therefore, creating a sitemap helps you improve your SEO and Google search ranking.

I believe you have learned some valuable pointers for creating a sitemap for your pages. Apply the tips in this article and use your preferred sitemap generator tool to produce a sitemap for your website quickly.

Do you have more tips to add that will benefit the Serpstat readers? Please, use the comments below!

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