What is a Sitemap? How to create it? Its types and Importance

What is a Sitemap? Why it is used?

Sitemap is a file which provides all the links (not private links) of the content present in the website
XML Sitemap Example
Suppose there are two e-books around 300 pages, both have a similar content, but only 1st book have a Table of Content. Which book would you like to read? Obviously 1st. The main reason behind this is, Table of Content helps readers to find their topic quickly and easily. Without Table of Contents, reader need to go throughout the book and find their topic.

For websites, Sitemaps does a same role as I mention above for e-books.

Sitemap helps the user as well as the search engine to understand the content about the website. Well arranged sitemap plays the vital role to find the information quickly and easily.

Types of sitemaps.

There are two main types of sitemaps

  • XML sitemap
  • HTML sitemap

What is XML Sitemap?

XML Sitemaps are specially designed for Search Engines. This XML file contains list of URLs on a website that are available for Crawling. Search Engines can collect the information about URLs, included date, Priority etc from the XML Sitemap. XML Sitemaps allows Search Engine to crawl the website more intelligently.

For Large Websites, including the XML Sitemap is must. For well organised small Sites, Including XML Sitemap is not necessary. But it is recommended to add a XML Sitemap to any kind of website. Because, Search Engine can finds all the URLs at one place, which helps the Search Engine to understand the website in better way.

What is HTML Sitemap?

HTML Sitemaps are specially designed for the user. It is same like Table of contents (without page numbers) of E-Books. It is up to you to add an HTML Sitemap to a website. The user will visit the HTML sitemap page and find the link to read an entire article of his choice.

Most of the webmaster doesn’t add the HTML Sitemap on their website. Because navigation systems may work like HTML Sitemap that helps user to find their content easily. Also, some webmaster offers a search box where users may find their content by querying on search Box.

But, from my point of view, it is always recommended to have an HTML Sitemap to the website. We need to offer each and every service where users can find their content easily.

How to Create a Sitemap?

Creating the HTML Sitemap.

It is very easy to create an HTML Sitemap. HTML sitemap is just an HTML file. We just need to use an HTML anchor tag to create links. Put the links of content one by one according to category.
Example of HTML Sitemap.

Creating the XML Sitemap.

www.xml-sitemaps.com is most popular website which helps to create a sitemap. Just Enter a detail and start. After creating a sitemap download a sitemap.xml file, upload it on your website.

For WordPress platform sitemap can be generated using plugin. Some SEO related plugins may offer to create a sitemap.

Tell Search Engines about your XML Sitemap

Create Account in webmaster tools of Google, Bing, Yandex etc. and submit a link of xml sitemap under sitemap section.

Following image shows the report of the submitted sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools.

Sitemap Report in Google Webmaster