In general, adding a sitemap to your site is always good practice. Though they’re not always necessary, they can’t do any harm and they allow search engines and web users alike to understand the organization of your site pages, which ultimately makes way for better rankings. While you can create both an XML and HTML sitemap, XML is the most commonly used and is often used for a Google sitemap, as this is what the search engine prefers.
A Google sitemap, as opposed to others, is a snippet which displays a Google-customized sitemap. Clearly, this type is specifically for Google’s search engine, and will ultimately allow such crawlers to fully understand the organization of the individual pages on your site. So, to help improve rankings and better allow Google to crawl your site, check out the tips on how to create a Google sitemap below.
If you’re ready to move on to the next portion of SEO training, you can view the articles we’ve provided below:
Creating a Google Sitemap
As mentioned, creating and submitting a Google sitemap can be quite beneficial for SEO, namely search result rankings. A sitemap is fairly easy to create and, once created, you can then continually update it as you add new pages to your site. To get started creating one for your site, take a look at the steps provided below:
- First, you’ll need to determine which pages of your site should be crawled and included in the sitemap. This will be the vast majority of your web pages, however, thank you pages may not be necessary.
- From here, you’ll need to create your XML sitemap. You can do so manually or use a sitemap generator, of which there are plenty. You can try any of the generators listed below:
- Screaming Frog
- Next, you’ll want to consider testing your sitemap to ensure it’s prepared properly. You can use Google’s Search Console Sitemaps Testing Tool or search for one online, such as the XML-Sitemap Validator.
- The last step is adding the sitemap to your robots.txt file to ensure it’s available to Google. Then, you’ll simply submit it to the Search Console. The steps for submitting a sitemap to Google are provided below.
Submitting Your Sitemap to Google
- Login to Google Search Console and select your website
- On the left, click “Crawl” and then click “Sitemaps”
- Click “Add/Test Sitemap” then enter “sitemap_index.xml”
- Hit “Submit”
As you create an XML sitemap, keep in mind, you can add information about images on each page of the site to give search engines further detail as to the content of each page. In fact, this can even make your images searchable, such as in Google’s Image search.
Considering the impact a sitemap can have on search results rankings, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with how to create one, how they help, and more. If you’d like such information, check out the pages below:
XML vs HTML
As mentioned before, XML sitemaps are the preferred format for most search engines, including Google. These sitemaps are easier for search engine bots to crawl when compared to HTML sitemaps. In fact, XML sitemaps are not accessible for the average website visitor, making it useless for everyone aside from search engines.
HTML sitemaps, on the other hand, are used by your website visitors. While every page of your website should be easy to find via navigation menus and internal linking, adding an HTML sitemap to your website can help users find the page they are looking for quickly. Including an HTML site can help to improve the user experience on your website.
Seeing as HTML sitemaps are mainly used for the web user, ensure it’s accessible to your site visitors. A common place for sitemaps is right in the footer.
Track Your Results with StatCounter
As you add and submit your sitemap and continue on with your SEO efforts, it’s always a good idea to track those efforts with detailed analytics to ensure your strategies are performing well. With StatCounter’s web tracker, you have access to a variety of helpful metrics to determine areas of your site that need improvement, as well as those that are performing well.
If you ever need help in using our tools, you can contact StatCounter support by filling you the form below.
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