A sitemap is a file with a list of all web pages of a website. It is the
architectual framework that tells search engines, such as Google, about the
organization of a website. A sitemap can be effective tool that can help organize
and clarify the content of a site. It is extremely easy to create a sitemap. Having
a good, effective sitemap submitted to search engines greatly helps with the indexing
of your website and thus, boost traffic on your site. A sitemap needs to be hierarchically
structured and needs to use the XML sitemap protocol for the markup. This guide will show
you how to build an effective sitemap of your website.
Identify all pages of your site
Identifying and listing all pages of your site should be the very first step to create an effective sitemap. For this purpose, simply create a new document in Microsoft word or TextEdit on Mac. Be sure to list of the pages in a hierarchical structure.
Create a sitemap template
Having a sitemap template make it super easy to create a good sitemap for a website with large number of pages. It's pretty easy to find a template online. Below is a sample of a sitemap template that you should have.
Editing sitemap template
Now that you have both list of pages of your website and a sitemap template, it's time to copy paste URLs into the sitemap template. Additionally, you have option to include some tags such as lastmod, changefreq, and priority. Even though these tags are optional, it is strongly recommended that you include these tags for a better and frequent crawling.
Save your sitemap
Google and all other major search engines recommends a sitemap to be submitted as an XML file. So, make sure that you save your document with a .xml file extension.
Submit your sitemap
Now that you have your sitemap ready, it's time to submit it to search engines. To do this, simply upload the file to your web server.
Important! Make sure that you place your sitemap in the root folder.
Since all search engines allow webmasters to submit sitemaps to their web crawlers, it's a good step to submit your sitemap to a web crawler such as Googlebot using Google Search Console for quick fetching, rendering, and indexing.
Well, now it's time to add content to your site and your sitemap will guide search engines to boost traffic on your site.