What is a Sitemap and How to Generate a Sitemap?

What is a Sitemap and How to Generate a Sitemap


What is a Sitemap and how to generate a Sitemap? Why is this so important? If we talk about a few decades ago, we will know that earlier there used to be links present on the main page of the government's website, the same page is called "Sitemap". Even now, some websites use the same HTML sitemap. But over time, Sitemap has also seen a lot of changes. Nowadays, Sitemap is published in XML instead of HTML.

You may have many questions regarding the Sitemap. Like what is a Sitemap? Why is this so important? How to generate a Sitemap? Many such questions. So I thought why not give some information about this today. All the new bloggers who want to create new blogs must know about it. So today we will know what is this sitemap and how to generate a sitemap. So, let's begin.


    What is a Sitemap?

    A Sitemap is simply a list of the pages of your website. Let's know what Google has to say about it. According to Google, a Sitemap is the list of your website or blog where all the pages of your blog are listed. Creating and submitting a Sitemap makes Google aware of their existence, otherwise, sometimes Google's spider doesn't crawl those pages

    A Sitemap is very important for any website or blog because it tells Search Engines about the pages of your blog, it also tells how content is in your blog and how regularly they are updated. This information helps Search Engines to show your content in Search Result.

    What is a WordPress XML Sitemap?

    A Sitemap is a list of pages that all users can access. XML Sitemap is a way that blog owners inform Search Engines about all the pages of their blog so that they can find them easily. The XML Sitemap also tells them which links are more important, how regularly the pages are updated from the cone. 

    By the way, your search ranking does not get a boost from Sitemap, but yes, it does help the Search Engine bots to crawl the pages on your website easily.

    Importance of XML Sitemap

    By the way, if we see from the point of view of search engine optimization, Sitemap is very important for any website or blog. Like I have already said that the ranking of any website does not increase with the Sitemap, but it definitely helps the Search Engine bots to crawl the pages on your website easily. 

    If seen on a special basis, it is very good for new Blogs or Websites. This is because new blogs do not get much back-links in their individual posts due to the common reason that they are not visible in the search engines.

    As for the old websites, since all their posts are completely indexed, the search engine bots crawl their pages and posts on a regular basis. And if a new post is published in one of these websites, the search engines become aware of this automatically and the bots crawl those posts and pages at a fix crawl rate. Due to this, the overall visibility of those websites increases.

    How do Search Engines locate a Sitemap?

    Search Engines are very smart in finding Sitemaps. Whenever you publish a new post, then a ping reaches those Search Engines, which alerts the Search Engines about changes made in the Sitemap of that website.

    Various types of Sitemaps

    Here we will know about various type of sitemap. By the way, there are mainly two types.
    • HTML Sitemap (Hypertext Markup Language)
    • XML Sitemap (Extensible Markup Language)

    Now XML Sitemap also has two parts
    • Index Sitemap (How many URLs are Sitemaps in a website)
    • URL Sitemap (provides final URL information on the webpage)

    URL Sitemaps also have three parts
    • The Sitemap for Webpages (also called XML Sitemap in Community)
    • Image Sitemap (URL of those images in the website and their details)
    • Video Sitemap (details of those videos in website)

    What is an HTML Sitemap?

    As mentioned earlier, this is a type of map that keeps all the information of the website along with its location. With their help, users can access any necessary piece of information very easily. For example, suppose there are hundreds of webpages on a website and to access a particular webpage from that website will be somewhat difficult. But with the help of an HTML Sitemap, this task will become much easier.

    What is an XML Sitemap?

    XML is basically like a language that stores information in a pre-defined format of an object. It is almost impossible for us to understand this format, but Search Engines can understand it very easily. So we can say that XML sitemaps have been designed primarily for search engines so that these sitemaps can provide information about the internal and external resources of a website to Search Engines.

    Video Sitemap

    We can make Sitemap of videos. For this, we can create a new and separate file or give Video Information in an existing sitemap. By adding information, their visibility increases in Rich Snippet. Remember that Google can only crawl the video formats like wmv, mp4, mpeg, mpg, m4v, asf, flv, swf, avi, ra and ram.

    Image Sitemap

    Image Sitemap is very important if you want your image to show up in Google Image Search results. Just like in Video Sitemap, we can add information of images to the same existing Sitemap.

    How to Generate a Sitemap

    The biggest advantage of using XML Sitemap is that we are inclusive of metadata. Which means that we can give additional information in the content of the page. An XML Sitemap is created as follows.

    Step 1: First of all create a text file, then name it as 'Sitemap' and save it in .xml format.

    Step 2: After that we have to inform the Search Engine how the Sitemap is encoded, for which we have to use the script given below.

    1 <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
    2 <urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>
    3 </urlset>

    Step 3: In the subsequent step we add all the relevant URLs. We do this before closing the urlset tag. Below you can see the steps to do the URL entry.

    1 <url>
    2 <loc>http://www.website.com/</loc>
    3 <lastmod>2012-12-12</lastmod>
    4 <changefreq>daily</changefreq>
    5 <priority>1</priority>
    6 </url>

    Here loc-tag is used to link the page. Here you can put your URL between these tags. lastmod indicates when you last modified the page. Change-freq means how many times you changed that page, the frequency of change (is (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly…). You have to use 'never' for the archived URL.

    You can categorize your pages according to their priority by using priority-tag. Priority values ​​range from 0.0 to 1.0 (1.0 being the most important). By default, page priority is 0.5. Even giving more priority to all the pages will not increase the rank because it is all relative. Here loc tag is compulsory, but lastmod, changefreq and priority tags are optional.

    Step 4: Now that you have created SiteMap, it is time to upload it in your Site. It should be added to the root directory itself. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are creating a Sitemap:

    All URLs must come from the same host as a sitemap.
    The maximum length of any URL must be 2,048 characters.
    A sitemap can contain up to 50,000 URLs.
    The maximum file size of a Sitemap is 50 MB.
    If your Sitemap is large enough, then you can split or split it into multiple Sitemaps, for which you will have to add a Sitemap Index file. It is similar to a normal sitemap but some tags have different names here. You can see the example below:

    1 <? Xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
    2 <sitemapindex xmlns = ”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9 ″>
    3 <sitemap>
    4 <loc> http://www.website.com/sitemap1.xml </loc>
    5 </sitemap>
    6 <sitemap>
    7 <loc> http://www.website.com/sitemap2.xml </loc>
    8 </sitemap>
    9 </sitemapindex>

    Here sitemap is linking two sitemaps with index file via the <loc> tag. Theoretically, if we think, a Sitemap Index file can link around 50,000 Sitemaps.

    How to validate Sitemap?

    Everyone knows how hard it is to find the error within your code, for that reason it is a good way to validate our sitemap before submitting so that it is error-free. By the way, many free tools are available on the internet to check validity. But we use Google Webmaster Tools to test XML Sitemaps. For which you have to click the add/test Sitemap Button which is below Optimization> Sitemap, with which we can check before submitting the Sitemap.

    Informing Search Engines

    Now that you have created and validated the sitemap, now is the time to inform Search Engines about it. To inform, you will have to provide the location of your Sitemap to Google and Bing. For Google, you have to log in to your account in Google Webmaster Tool, then you will have Optimization> Sitemaps, in which the button on the right side will be 'add sitemap'. There you have to paste the URL of the Sitemap and the work is finished. For Bing, you will have to use Bing Webmaster Tools to submit the Sitemap and also the location of the sitemap.

    Alternatively, you can also include your URL in the robot.txt file. For which you need to write an extra line, such as

    Sitemap: https://www.swarnabhonline.xyz/sitemap.xml

    If you have a Sitemap Index file, then you do not need to insert extra line.

    Conclusion

    I am assuming by now you must have understood very well how important the Sitemap is, if you want that no page of your website is missed then you have to take care that those Crawlers do not miss any page. You can also add additional metadata such as Change Frequency and Priority. With this, you can also create a Sitemap for video and image. And once you have created a Sitemap, do not forget to validate it and notify Search Engines.

    I sincerely hope that I have given you complete information about what a Sitemap is and I hope you all have understood about the Sitemap. I request all of you readers to should share this information in your neighbourhood, relatives and friends so that everyone gets the benefit. I need your support so that I can convey more new information to you.

    It has always been my endeavour that I always help my readers or readers from all sides, if you people have any doubt of any kind, then you can ask me anytime. I will definitely try to solve those Doubts. Tell us by writing a comment so that we too will get a chance to learn something from your ideas and improve something.

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