April 23rd, 2012 / Web Design & Development

What A Sitemap Does For Your Website

Your website can benefit tremendously from having a sitemap. But what exactly does a sitemap do?

A sitemap is an XML file that you create for your website and that contains information about each of your site’s web pages that the search engines use to crawl and index your site effectively. One of the major benefits of the sitemap is that it tells the search engines which pages on your site you want crawled. It also establishes a priority for those pages so that the search engines know which pages are more important for crawling.

A sitemap is necessary for any website with 10 or more web pages. I’ve seen smaller sites with sitemaps and I’ve seen them without sitemaps. Sites with sitemaps generally do better in the search engines, however, some smaller sites have done just fine without them. It’s safer just to create one anyway.

To generate a sitemap, visit one of the many sitemap generator websites online. They all pretty much do the same thing. I recommend XML-Sitemaps.com.

After generating your sitemap, upload it to your server. You should put it in the root folder of your website and then link to it from your website’s footer. Then, submit it to the search engines so that they can get a look at the pages on your website and determine which ones to crawl and in what order.

You can also create a separate video sitemap if you have a lot of videos on your site. If you have a particularly large website, then you might include a separate sitemap for each section. If you do, create a master sitemap that lists each of your sitemaps. This will make your website more crawlable.

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