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How To Create A Correct HTML Sitemap For A Website

How To Create The Correct HTML Sitemap For A Website
How To Create The Correct HTML Sitemap For A Website

Stacy Mine
Editor at Serpstat
An HTML sitemap is a page with the second level of nesting, which contains a list of links to the main pages on the website.

The main task of the HTML sitemap is to help the user find the desired section or page on the website. Besides, it gives room for additional interlinking.

What is the difference between HTML sitemap and XML sitemap?

When a new website page is created, web crawlers will eventually find it and add it to search engine indexes. As a result, both XML and HTML sitemaps help search engine crawling.

The key distinction is that an HTML sitemap helps visitors discover the content of your site, whereas an XML sitemap caters more exclusively to search engines.

You can use XML sitemaps to notify search engines when you add new pages or content to your site.

Who needs an HTML sitemap?

There are numerous reasons why an HTML sitemap would be beneficial to your site's visitors. If you want to fulfil the following tasks, you definitely need a Sitemap:

  • Categorize your website's content

  • Improve your site's navigation

  • Better ways to add new content

  • Organize large websites

Common mistakes when creating an HTML sitemap

If you don't create a correct sitemap and users can't find what they need, you are going to lose them.

Is saying goodbye to your potential customers not what you want? Then, don't hesitate to create an HTML sitemap for a website.

The sitemap includes a structured list of all pages on the website, with a hyperlink to each of them. Since sitemaps are so important for your site's organic search performance, here's a list of the most common HTML sitemap mistakes and how to avoid them:
1
Do not block the sitemap from being indexed by search robots with noindex + nofollow.
Do not close the robots.txt and x-robots-tag. Using a map, you balance the weight on the internal pages of the website, so it's better to keep the map open.
2
Don't clutter your page with thousands of links.
This will complicate the perception, and the sitemap will not be helpful for the users, they will leave it in search of something simpler. If there is a need to list many links, it is better to create a multi-level map that will open the sections in stages.
3
Make sure to only leave links to existing pages that are open for indexing.
Technical pages that are not useful to the website visitor should not be displayed on the map.
4
The sitemap requires regular updates.
Clean up deleted pages and add new ones.
As a result, you should get a sitemap, as shown in the sitemap html example:
Example of sitemap with several categories
As we can see, there are few links, they are grouped in sections, and the link is located on the main page. Another example of page classification by subject can be seen in a layered map:
An HTML sitemap example
Of course, if you are an experienced user and have the necessary skills, you will be able to create a sitemap manually, but let's consider automatic ways of generating it.

Creating an HTML sitemap with a generator

To speed up and make the process automated, you should choose an HTML sitemap generator online, for example, XML-Sitemaps. This is a free service for sites with up to 500 pages. To create a sitemap html, follow the link from the name. Paste the previously copied website address in the indicated field and click the "Start" button.
HTML sitemap generator
The report will be ready within several minutes:
Generation of the HTML sitemap
To open your map, click on the blue button below the report and go to the next page. Under the XML map, there will be a section where you can download all the sitemaps: XML and HTML ones.
How to download HTML sitemap
Transfer the downloaded files to the root folder.

If you need an HTML sitemap for WordPress, you can use a special plugin, one HTML sitemap example would be HTML Page Sitemap. There are similar solutions for other popular CMS.

Keep in mind the basic principles when making a sitemap:

  • Structured presentation of information. Arrange the pages of the website in strict accordance with their hierarchy from the main page to sections, subsections and landing pages of a product/service. You can check out some templates to choose the look of your sitemap.

  • Availability. The sitemap should be located intuitively to the user. Normally, the sitemap is located on the main page. The best location for the sitemap is in the website footer.
Site map in the footer example
  • Place an additional link to the sitemap for the user on the 404 error page to continue his session on existing pages.
  • Brief information about the content. Small comments on sections and pages will help you quickly find the right product/service. Thus, the user will not leave the website because he searched for a long time and is tired of this process, but will successfully complete the session. This requires working on behavioral factors of page depth and bounce rate.
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Best 5 free sitemap generator tools

Check out 5 best free tolls to generate a sitemap online.

Conclusion

HTML sitemap is designed for users. Its major task is to facilitate working on the website by structuring all pages in a hierarchical order. Keep in mind the following things when creating a sitemap:
1
The sitemap should be open for indexing to evenly transfer the weight of the website across its other pages.
2
Create multiple sitemaps or a layered sitemap not to place many links (more than 100-200) on one page.
3
Keep an eye on map updates and don't allow the deleted or technical pages there.
4
Place the HTML sitemap in footer of the website.
To know how to create an HTML sitemap on your own, you would need some advanced skills. But there are ready-made solutions that allow you to create a sitemap online. One of the free HTML sitemap generators for small websites is xml-sitemaps.

Without registration, you can get ready-made sitemaps for free, provided that there are less than 500 pages on the website. Transfer the maps created by the tool to the root folder. Before that, check the correctness of the XML sitemap through the integrated Google Search Console panel.

What should be included in HTML sitemap?

The main requirements for an HTML sitemap are simplicity, clarity, and informativeness. It should help the site to keep visitors, and not repel them with bulky content, an abundance of sections and menu items.

Do I need HTML sitemap?

We totally recommend creating an HTML sitemap. A sitemap is a very useful tool for indexing your website effectively. Sitemaps are useful tools for search robots as they "lurk" through your site.

What is the use of HTML sitemap in SEO?

Sitemaps improve a website's ranking in SERPs, thus boosting SEO. When a website gets a high ranking on a search engine results page, it becomes more visible to a larger number of users, resulting in increased traffic.

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