What is Sitemap?

What is Sitemap?

 

A site map or sitemap is a kind of index of website which can be used from users and search-engines crawlers, It is a normal http file (web page file) or may be in any document form.

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What the importance of Sitemap?

A site map is important for both:visitors & search engines crawlers:what is sitemap

1. For users: It allows them to navigate through the website when they look for the place of a certain information in this site, it plays the same role of normal geographic map, it simplifies the searching process especially when the website is big enough to find what the visitor looks for easily.

2. For crawlers: Crawlers like sitemaps too much and the first thing they are looking for (in fact you will make them do this first as i will mention later) is finding the website´s sitemap.

Sitemaps are so important in these cases:

a. Website is very big.

b. Website is new and has only few external links.

c. Website has a large number of archive pages which are not connected to each others.

d. Website has a rich media content.

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Types of sitemaps:

There are two types of sitemaps:

Human sitemap: From its name you can guess that this type is designed for humans, it is HTML page which contains group of links to the whole site´s pages. This type is designed manually by a man and it is normally accessible through a small link shown in the footer of the home page.

XML-Google sitemap: Even this sitemap is used by Yahoo and Bing its name is Google sitemap. It looks like this:

what is sitemap

 

It looks not human-friendly but it contains many additional information that are not existed in the human type. These information are:

Priority: Which tells the crawlers which the importance of each page on your site, the scale starts from 0.0 till 1.0 and the default is setting to 0.5, so for important pages which you want the search engines to show mostly on search results you should set it to high value (like 0.8 or 0.9 or 1.0), but for low important pages you should set it to low value ( like 0.0 or 0.1) and so on, as you don´t want to see Contact us page in the search results.

Last modified: This informs the Crawlers when your pages was last modified so they will not visit pages which are not modified from last visit (in fact crawlers have other ways to discover changes so it is not necessary to include this one).

Change frequency: This informs crawlers how frequently each page is likely to change, so for some pages like Contact us you will make it Yearly but for Blogs you will set it to Daily and so on…

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How to Create XML-Google Sitemap?

You can do the human type yourself as it is so simple, but the problem that it will be tedious way if you should do this each time you add new page or post, or if you have big website The XML type is much better idea and much easier for you as you will do this process once and it will be updated automatically. You can do this by using XML-Sitemaps generation Tool as it is so simple and easy-to-use tool. . After you make the sitemap you need to inform the search engines about it, you can do this through one of these two ways:

Manually:

1. Informing Google: you need to create Google account first then you should sign up at www.google.com/webmasters/tools, when you do that you can follow the instructions and tell the google about your sitemap.

2. Informing Yahoo: similar to Google way, create your Yahoo account then add your site to Yahoo´s site Explorer Service.

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Using robots.txt:

1. First upload one of these plugins: Yoast or All in One SEO.

2. Go to SEO in this plugin.

3. Go to Edit Files.

4. You can see now robots.txt editor, add this line (in any place):

what is sitemap

Replace the example with your full website address ( you should mention http://).

That´s it!

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