Sitemaps are a core piece of a website and critical to search engine optimization – xml sitemaps allows search engines to easily crawl a website and index each page so that it appears in search engine results. HTML sitemaps are also important, and are more geared towards human users – they help your website visitors more easily find the content they’re looking for on your website.
According to Google, there are a few specific reasons a client would benefit from a sitemap:
- Their website is new with very few backlinks
- Their website is very large
- Their website content isn’t well-linked internally, making it difficult to navigate
- Their website uses a lot of rich-media content
Sitemaps Generator: Create your Google Sitemap Online
Once you’ve generated your sitemap, you’ll need to upload, check, and validate it. There’s some great information on how to do that here.
Then, I recommend you submit your xml sitemap directly to Google and Bing (which powers Yahoo) so that search engines know it’s available. It’s relatively simple to do through Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. Here’s a quick overview of the steps to take:
Google Webmaster Tools:
On your Webmaster Tools home page, select your site.
- In the left sidebar, click Site configuration and then Sitemaps.
- Click the Add/Test Sitemap button in the top right.
- Enter /system/feeds/sitemap into the text box that appears.
- Click Submit Sitemap.
Bing Webmaster Tools:
Go to your website dashboard.
Click “sitemaps” in the “configure my sitemap” dropdown on the left.
Finally, you should list your sitemap in your robots.txt file to ensure it’s found by all search engines other than Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Be sure to periodically check in on your clients’ sitemaps to address any indexation issues that may occur, or after any major site updates.
Are there other sitemap generator tools you use? Do you have other tips for generating sitemaps for clients? Share in the comments!