Sitemaps are the structural map of a website. It is a file that provides information about various web pages on the website.
When a search engine’s bots crawl a website, a sitemap file serves in indexing the various pages of a website more effectively. It offers site owners a way to make search engines like Google understand which pages are important for the website.
In addition to this, a sitemap provides other details such as language versions available, recent updates, etc. A sitemap can be created using suitable website sitemap creators that we will be discussing further.
A sitemap is a blueprint of your website structured in a tree-like format. It defines the clear connection between the website pages, web page trees, and the other content present on the website. A sitemap gives details about the specific content present on the pages like images, videos, news, etc. For instance:
- An image entry on the sitemap includes the location of the images present on a web page.
- A video entry on the sitemap includes the video running time, age-appropriateness rating, etc.
- A news entry on the sitemap includes the news title and the date of publication.
Why Does Your Website Need A Sitemap?
Let’s now explore the top reasons that make a sitemap a must-have file for every website.
Prevention of Copied Content
The copied content issue is the most frustrating problem your website may face. Even if you publish unique and original content, you will lose search engine ranking if your competitors utilize it for their own website and present it as their own.
Search engines, however, can determine which content is original and which is copied by considering the date of publication on the sitemap. For this, you can specify the original publication date of any page on the sitemap. This will eliminate the risk of your web page being considered copied content.
Once your website is up and running, there is a necessity for SEO efforts to enhance its visibility. A sitemap helps in offering updated information on published pages to search engines. It helps search engines index the latest changes on your website.
SEO professionals submit XML sitemaps of websites to Bing webmaster and Google Search Console. This submission starts the process of crawling. Moreover, by adding a sitemap to the website, you can ensure that all of your important pages are being indexed as soon as they are published.
Even if we do not submit the sitemap to the Google search console or Bing webmaster, they look for the sitemap at some standard URLs. A few website sitemap examples that show the location of XML sitemap on the websites are:
With a sitemap, you can improve the rankings of various images and videos present on the website. As a sitemap consists of metadata about the images and videos, the metadata enables search engines to understand the content of the videos and images and rank for relevant search queries.
It is a good idea to create a separate sitemap for the videos present on the website. Also, add metadata with them, such as description, title, location, view count, category, rating, etc.
As you submit a sitemap to Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools, they provide you with information about crawling. A report is generated about the crawling of various URLs of the website. If crawlers are not able to crawl any of your URLs, the report includes this information as well. Webmaster tools also offer suggestions to fix those errors. Hence, you can ensure that all of your URLs are being properly visited and indexed by the search engines.
Here are some of the best website sitemap creators that you can use to generate a sitemap.
Whether you want to generate an XML sitemap, a text sitemap, or an HTML sitemap, XML-Sitemap.com is the best option.
To create a sitemap, use this tool online for free or install an XML sitemap plugin for the WordPress platform. The best part of this tool is that it automatically alerts major search engines about the latest web pages. So, the indexing of the latest page versions has become easier.
In addition to the free sitemap generator tool, a pro sitemap version is also available. It allows site owners to submit a sitemap from their own server. You can also update your sitemap in a pro version without reuploading it to the website. The number of pages that can be indexed in the pro version is also more.
Lucidchart is another innovative website sitemap creator that helps highlight the structural aspects of your website. With a visual sitemap, you can easily showcase your users’ page hierarchy and simplify the website navigation. There are several features offered, such as the usage of hotkeys to add sitemap branches, page depth, and more.
It also consists of a sitemap shape library from which you can select the website sitemap templates of your choice. With a template, you can start framing your sitemap diagrammatically. This tool claims to offer a sitemap creation approach that can impact the website performance to a great extent.
Octopus is another great option that lets you create visual sitemaps for your websites. With this sitemap, you can help your visitors understand the hierarchy of the web pages on your website.
Its features include a low-fidelity wireframe kit that lets you visualize the structure of your website. You can export your sitemap to a high-quality vector PDF which can be printed for offline meetings and more.
SureOak is another reputed free sitemap generator tool that helps you create an XML sitemap for your website. The process involved in the creation of a sitemap is quite simple. You just need to insert the link of your website to the required field.
This tool will start crawling your web pages with just a single click. Once the crawling is complete, an XML file will be ready that you can download and upload to the website.
MySitemapGenerator is a free online sitemap design tool that helps you create two types of sitemaps. These are an XML sitemap and an HTML sitemap.
Using this, you can even create RSS feeds, product feeds, image sitemaps, online podcasts, Google product feeds, etc. MySitemapGenerator enables us to have complete necessary customizations. They claim that most search engines crawl the sitemaps that they generate.
Flowmapp is another tool that is quite useful for various web development projects. This tool can effectively create visual sitemaps and support the planning and management of development projects. It offers a drag-and-drop sitemap builder interface. This makes it very convenient to build the website structure and thus bringing ease to the navigation of the website.
This tool comes with the feature of storing files and contextual data. This eliminates the need to utilize more tools and software while making communication easier.
PowerMapper is a one-click website sitemap creator tool that enables you to create three types of sitemaps:
- XML Sitemap
- Visual Sitemap
- HTML Sitemap
This online tool can also highlight compatibility issues, thus providing suggestions about improving the usability of the sitemaps.
For visual sitemaps, you can have multiple styles here, but customization options are not so vast. Two output options are there in this tool, one is XML, and the second is CSV. It is quite convenient to integrate these two options into all the major search engines.
Creatly is a visual sitemap generator tool capable of creating a sitemap of any size without any effort. It comes with smart visual sitemap generator features such as smart shapes, programming shortcuts, connectors, etc. These features make the process hassle-free.
There are around 1000 free high-quality website sitemap templates available. These tools effectively create visual sitemaps that can represent web page hierarchy clearly. Its exciting features include a custom database, task management, visual workspace, multi-player collaboration, etc.
SEOSpider uses a free sitemap creator tool that can crawl 500 URLs at a time. You can even download the app for this tool and use all of its features. It is basically a free app that is further available in paid version with extended features.
In the online web portal of SEOSpider, premium members are provided with all the advanced features.
With this tool, you can find broken links, audit redirects, analyze page titles and descriptions, discover duplicate content, etc.
A sitemap can effectively communicate about your website to search engines and users, depending upon its type. So, your website must have an updated sitemap version present. This will eliminate any scope for missing any of your web pages from indexing. You can conveniently utilize any of the above-listed website sitemap creator tools and have a well-structured sitemap for your website.
You may also be interested in Yoast Sitemap Creator.