What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap’s function is to clarify to search engines how your website is structured and notifies them of new articles. The following is an example of a sitemap:
As you may have noticed, it’s made of a bunch of links and dates of every published or modified post, all written in an XML format.
It works as follows: Each time you publish a new post, its “link” and “published date” will be added to the file. And each time you modify a page or a post, the “last modified” time changes.
This way, search engines will be easily notified of any added or modified post and it will be easy for them to find them since they are all organized in one place: They just have to send their crawlers to index all of your pages.
But wait, what do you mean by crawlers?
Web crawlers are like mini-programs whose function is generally crawling and indexing web pages. Thanks to web crawlers, By using your favorite search engine, let’s say Google, you can find the content you are looking for.
What is Good ‘Sitemap’?
A good sitemap is dynamic, it changes automatically whenever something has been changed or added.
Therefore, it’s important to create a dynamic sitemap inside your host without relying on external services which, generally, allows you to generate and download static sitemaps.
How to Create a Sitemap?
If you use WordPress, it’s easy; you just have to find a plugin that creates a dynamic sitemap for you.
I suggest that you use Google XML Sitemaps since it is efficient and simple.
You can also find other plugins that accomplish the same function such as Jetpack and Yoast SEO.
To create a sitemap in WordPress:
1. On WordPress Dashboard, hover your cursor over Plugins and click Add New.
2. In the search bar, type: “Sitemap”.
3. Pick any plugin you want.
In blogger, you don’t have to make a sitemap because it’s already created. To find your sitemap, type your website’s URL, then add to it: /sitemap.xml.
What Comes After Creating a Sitemap?
After creating a sitemap, you need to submit it to search engines.
To submit your sitemap to Google webmaster tools:
Step 1: Find your Sitemap
1. On your WordPress Dashboard, hover your cursor over Settings and click XML-Sitemap.
2. On the top, you’ll see the URL of your sitemap, copy it.
Your sitemap is in the following format: http://www.[yoursite.com]/sitemap.xml
Step 2: Submit your Sitemap
1. Join Google Webmaster Tools.
2. Connect to your webmaster tools homepage, click on Crawl, then Sitemaps.
3. On the top right side, click on the button Add/Test Sitemap, add your URL then click Submit.
If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to use the comment box below.