What is a sitemap?

Sitemaps are like an index (like a book’s table of contents) of your website. A sitemap helps the search engines find the content of your website faster.

There are a few different types of sitemaps that include:

  • XML File Sitemap that lists the pages of your website
  • Image Sitemap that lists where your images are shown on your website.
  • Video Sitemap that lists where your videos are on your website.
  • News Sitemap that lists content that is approved by places like Google News

Without sitemaps, the search engines follow links on your website to find other pages to crawl and index. Your website’s navigation helps with this greatly but a lot of time not all of our pages are listed in your navigation menu.

With sitemaps, the search engines are given a table of contents of your website that lists all of the pages, posts, images, videos, etc. of your website which helps crawl and index deeper pages of your website.

You can use the coverage report in Google Search Console and URL Inspection of Bing’s Webmaster Tools to find out.

Sitemaps are especially useful if your website has a shopping cart with thousands of products. Without a sitemap, there is a good possibility that many products won’t show up in the search engines.

If you have a WordPress website there are many plugins out there like Yoast which also help you with other SEO factors. If you don’t have a WordPress website you can utilize the services of a website like XML-Sitemaps.

After you have your sitemap created you can submit it to Google Search Console and Bing’s Webmaster Tools for faster indexing.

Utilizing the tools in these two places can help determine if there are any problems with your website of pages not getting crawled, duplicate content issues, page load speed, and more. Don’t forget that search engines do not like sitemaps that are over 50MB large. If your sitemap is larger than this you can break it down into several smaller sitemaps.

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Related Content:

How do search engines crawl your website?
What is a robots.txt file?
How do search engines index your website?
How do search engines rank your website?
How to get Indexed and Ranked Faster?