If you have a website and you want better results for it in search results, then a sitemap can help you in that. There are plenty of pages in websites and it is required that Search Engines can easily check them all. Have a look at the below definition of sitemap in SEO to understand what actually sitemap is.
What is a Sitemap in SEO?
A sitemap contains the list of all the pages of your website that helps all the search engines like Google and Bing etc. to better crawl your website. This will help you to get all your pages indexed faster. In simple words, a sitemap in seo is just like the “index” page in a book that helps you to better understand what information is available in a book.
Types of Sitemap in SEO
There are two types of sitemap
- XML Sitemap
- HTML Sitemap
XML Sitemap – XML sitemap is used for the search engines as the language used in this cannot be understood by humans but search engines do understand this. This sitemap helps search engines to completely understand what pages a website actually contains. Below is the XML sitemap example.
HTML Sitemap – This sitemap is used for users of a website. HTML sitemaps help users to find the information that they want. If there is no HTML sitemap in a website that has plenty of pages, it can bother your users as if they find it difficult to use the website, they will never visit again. The example of such types of Sitemaps is a shopping website. You probably have visited some shopping websites and found that they categorized all their products so that you can easily find the product you are looking for.
Importance of Sitemap in SEO
The sitemap plays a very crucial role in SEO. As mentioned above an XML sitemap helps search engines to better crawl the website. Moreover, sitemap also let the search engines know when a website or a page is updated and the search engine will crawl that page again. All this will help you to get better rankings as if a search engine finds that your website is well organized and updated frequently, it will rank you higher.
As far as HTML sitemap’s concern, it also plays a great role in SEO as it makes your website user-friendly. For example, if your website is well organized, users will stay for a longer time and if it is not then they will bounce back immediately and a high bounce rate will decrease your rankings.
How To Generate XML Sitemap?
If you are thinking that it is very difficult to generate or maintain a sitemap, then there is good news for you. Generating a sitemap is super easy. There are plenty of websites available that can generate a sitemap for you. Keep in mind that if you generated sitemap with these websites, then you have to also upload it to your website. When uploaded, you can check it by adding “sitemap.xml” at the last of your URL e.g. for my website, I can check it here https://www.moveonspace.com/sitemap.xml
List of some sitemap builder websites is mentioned below
If you have a WordPress website, then you can use the Yoast SEO plugin. It automatically generates a sitemap for your blog or website. And, in case you are not familiar with Yoast, then you can use any other plug-in. There are many more plug-ins available in WordPress that generate a sitemap automatically. The list of such plugins is here.
How to Submit XML Sitemap to Google?
So, now when you know how to generate a sitemap, the next step is to submit it to Google. Just like generating a sitemap, submitting it is also very easy. Just sign in to Google Search Console. (If you don’t have a Search console account, just create one or sign in with your Gmail and add your website there.)
Now, click on your website.
On the left side of your screen, find the option Crawl and click on it
From there, find the “Sitemap” option and click on it
Now, on the right side of the screen, you will find “ADD/TEST SITEMAP”, click on it
A box will open. Type “Sitemap.xml” and click on “Test”
After that click on “View Test”
If your sitemap is working it will show you total pages that a sitemap contains
Now Close the test and again click on “ADD/TEST SITEMAP” and type “sitemap.xml”
Click on “Submit”
That’s it. Your sitemap is submitted to Google. You can visit after a few hours and check how many of your URLs have been indexed by Google.
How to Submit XML Sitemap to Bing
To submit a sitemap to Bing, open Bing Webmaster and sign in (If you don’t have an account create and then add your website and verify it). Now follow the below instructions:
From the left side of your screen, click on Sitemaps
Add the URL of your website that includes sitemap.xml at the end, just like we checked above
Now, hit Submit
Your Sitemap is submitted to Bing now. You can check back in a few hours to check how many URLs are been submitted.
That’s it. Now you are all set to get better results in the search engine result page. Hope you understand everything I stated above. If you have any question or doubt, feel free to ask.