The advantages gained from the creation and submission of a distinctive sitemap cannot be compared to any other method in terms of result, site traffic generation and search engine ranking. The omission of a sitemap in the development of a website is identified as a major shortfall of the webmaster or web designer and should not be neglected. The sitemap, integration of inbound and outbound links, the websites backlinks, content, keyword density and other factors are given utmost consideration when it comes to the ranking of a particular website in the organic search results which is the major source of any site’s traffic. This article was written to help you have a foundational understanding of the sitemap, how to build it and where to submit it for an effective result.
WHAT IS A SITEMAP
A sitemap is basically a simple XML file attached to a website to enable search engine crawlers discover the pages in the site. It’s a very simple technique used by webmasters in order to expose the website’s structure to search engines and users. The sitemap should also contain all URLs in the site and other information which can help the site to be crawled or indexed appropriately.
TYPES OF SITEMAP
Sitemaps can be categorised into two major types. The Text Sitemap or XML sitemap which is meant to be crawled by search engine bots for indexing and ranking. The User Sitemap is designed for the users of the site. It gives the site visitors a pre-knowledge of the pages in a website, making it easier for them to navigate.
IMPORTANCE OF THE HTML SITEMAP
The HTML sitemap is used to simplify site navigation. Visitors to the website can view the pages of the site based on their importance making the site more user friendly. A user friendly website generates traffic because previous users are most likely to return.
SIGNIFICANCE OF XML SITEMAP
The significance of XML cannot be overemphasised. With the integration of an XML sitemap, search engines can index multiple page websites, making it easier for them to be ranked.
HOW TO CREATE A SITEMAP
Building an effective sitemap is not rocket science. Rather, with the right knowledge, anybody can comfortably create a sitemap. One basic component of a sitemap is the location of the URLs, the other components of the sitemap are variables. To build an effective sitemap, the webmaster should follow the steps below:
STEP 1: Create the head document.
The head should be started with an XML declaration and it should be written as:
STEP 2: Write down the container element and URL.
This can be written in the following format;
And the URL should be written as;
STEP 3: Input the Location.
The location is very important because it is required in the URL element. The location also contains a URL to the page that attracts search engine spiders. It should be written as below:
The three steps above are the basics of sitemap creation. Other components that should also be integrated in the sitemap are the modified date, modification frequency and the page priority.
TOOLS USED IN SITEMAP CREATION
There are so many online tools which any webmaster can use to generate sitemaps. Most of the recommended sitemap generation tools are supported by the major search engines and they can be used by professionals as well as the newbie’s in the industry. They can be classified into:
Server side programs, Online generators, Downloadable tools, CMS and other Plugins.
HOW TO SUBMIT A SITEMAP
To submit a sitemap and get an effective result, one has to submit it to the major search engines. Submitting your sitemap to only one or two search engines is not advisable because the competition for online traffic has escalating. Therefore, you should endeavor to submit your site to all the major search engines which are; Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com.
To submit your sitemap to Google, you will first add your site to Google webmaster tools. Bing and Yahoo have different webmaster interfaces where your sitemap can be submitted. Ask.com does support sitemaps which differentiates it from the previous three.
If you follow the knowledge contained within this article, you’ll find that sitemap creation and its submission will no longer be a daunting challenge.