Of the many SEO tactics you can take on to improve search result rankings, creating and submitting a sitemap is one such tactic that is fairly easy and quick. There are two types of sitemaps, XML and HTML, and each can benefit your website. HTML sitemaps can be made easily on your own, but XML sitemaps require a sitemap generator.
An XML sitemap, which is essentially a file listing the individual URLs for your website, allows search engine crawlers to better understand the organization of your content and use such knowledge to determine where your site should be placed in search results. And you can create a sitemap fairly easily with a sitemap generator.
While you can rely on a well-designed site architecture to allow search engines to understand your content organization, you’ll be better off simply creating a sitemap, as it never hurts to have one. This way, you can ensure your site is correctly crawled and ultimately improve your search engine rankings. Of course, creating a sitemap is a bit easier said than done, but there’s a number of tools you can utilize to make the task easier, such as the aforementioned sitemap generator. Having said that, let’s take a look at the tools available.
If you feel ready to move on to the next part of SEO training, you can view the articles provided below to gain more insight:
Selecting a Sitemap Generator
Though it won’t matter all too much which tool you use to create a sitemap, some of these sitemap generators are proven to be easy to use and precise. No matter which sitemap generator you choose, adding an XML sitemap to your website can be quite beneficial. Creating one doesn’t take long and once you have one, you can easily update it when new pages are added in the future. Regardless, check out each sitemap generator below to determine which will suit your needs best:
- Slickplan: While it requires a fee, Slickplan offers a sitemap tool to help you create one from scratch or add to an existing one. Here, you can design your sitemap, customize it, and test it to ensure it meets your expectations.
- Screaming Frog: Screaming Frog offers both a free and pro plan. While you’ll be limited in the free plan, you’ll still be able to create your sitemap, which you can then submit for indexing.
- XML-sitemaps: As with most generators, XML-sitemaps allow you to create both XML and HTML sitemaps with their free version. The generator is quite easy to use, as you’re simply prompted to enter in certain info before the sitemap is created.
- Wordpress: If your website is built using Wordpress, this is a great place to build and add your sitemap. Wordpress offers a variety of free generators to create XML and HTML sitemaps.
Once you’ve created your XML sitemap, you will need to submit it to Google and other search engines (each search engine differs for submission). Below, you can see how to submit your sitemap to Google and Bing, depending on which search engine your site visitors utilize most (you can determine this in our Web Tracker).
Submit Your Sitemap to Search Engines
Once you have created an XML sitemap and added it to your site, you’ll then need to submit it to search engines to ensure they crawl your site thereafter. Depending on which search engine the majority of your site visitors use, you’ll want to submit the sitemap to that specific one. However, it doesn’t hurt to submit to all of them. Below, we’ve provided a quick explanation as to how you can submit your sitemap to Google and Bing.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”
- Login to Bing Webmaster Tools and click your site from the “My Sites” page
- Next, click on “Configure My Site” then click “Sitemaps”
- Enter the URL for you sitemap
- Hit “Submit”
How to Create an HTML Sitemap
As mentioned before, XML sitemaps are the preferred format for search engines. However, this does not mean HTML sitemaps are useless. In fact, HTML sitemaps can help to improve the user experience on your site. While your website’s architecture should be easy to navigate using menus at the top and in the footer, sometimes it can be difficult for users to find the page they are looking for—making a sitemap key.
Creating an HTML sitemap is also remarkably easy. Since this format of sitemap is like any other page on your site, you can simply create a new page and lay out the hierarchy of your webpages. For example, if you’re home page links to a Services page, and that page links to individual service pages, your sitemap would look something like this, but with hyperlinks to the corresponding pages:
- — Home
- — Services
- — Service A
- — Service B
- — Service C
- — Services
Obviously, the more pages your website has, the larger your HTML sitemap will be. Much like an XML sitemap, you will need to update you HTML sitemap each time you add a new page to your site. Since this sitemap is used primarily by website visitors, you won’t need to submit it to search engines, however.
While HTML sitemaps aer easy to create on your own, you’ll see you can create such using a sitemap generator—much like you would for an XML sitemap. Since both types are beneficial and won’t harm your site, be sure to create and add both.
Track Your Efforts with StatCounter
Once you’ve submitted your sitemap to search engines, you can then track your results with StatCounter and the detailed analytics we offer. Our web tracker is essential in monitoring your website and the success of your strategies, as you can use our metrics to determine what tactics are working, as well as those that are not.
If you are in need of assistance or have a question, you can contact StatCounter member support by filling out the form below.
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