In this article, you will learn what sitemap.xml is, how to create and configure a sitemap.
- Why do we need a sitemap site map.xml
- Is it possible to do without sitemap.xml
- How to create and connect the sitemap.xml file
- How to create a site map online using a generator
- How to create a site map using additional modules for CMS
- How to add a sitemap to the offices of webmasters
- How to create an HTML sitemap
- Sitemap: create and forget
What is a site map and why is it needed?
In this guide we will talk mainly about site maps for search engines. These are XML documents that contain service information. They help search engines to navigate sites and index them effectively.
There are also site maps for live visitors. They are also called HTML maps. In fact, they represent a directory of site pages with the display of a hierarchy. HTML-map helps visitors to surf the site and search for the necessary pages.
XML and HTML are markup languages.
HTML maps are an outdated and not very convenient element of navigation, so we will pay them very little attention at the end of the article. For now, let's focus on XML maps that are important for properly indexing resources.
Why do we need a sitemap site map.xml
Details about this can be found in the directories for webmasters Google and Yandex. Brief essence: sitemap.xml contains important information for search engines. It:
- List of site pages URLs and their hierarchy.
- Type of published content, such as images or videos.
- Information about the images and videos that search engines use to index the site and generate the issue.
- Information about the frequency of updates and the last update of the page.
- Information about the priority of the page.
- Data about alternative versions of the page.
That is a site map - navigator for search engines.
Is it possible to do without sitemap.xml
Can. Search engines consider an XML sitemap the recommended tool. For example, if there is no sitemap.xml on the site, “Yandex” will mark this in the list of possible, and not critical or fatal problems.
Robots are not fools, they will index the site without sitemap.xml. But in some situations, the lack of an XML map leads to problems with indexing. Here are some examples:
- The site has pages that are not referenced from other pages of the site.
- The site is very large, it has a complex structure.
- New site.
- Many pages of the site are updated regularly.
- The site has more and less important pages.
Recommendation: if you have a commercial site, on which the success of your business depends, create and connect sitemap.xml. Below is described in detail how to do it.
How to create and connect the sitemap.xml file
Create a site map in two ways. The first is to make sitemap.xml using an external online generator. Second - you need a module or internal generator for a specific CMS. Consider both ways.
How to create a site map online using a generator
This method is good because you are not tied to a specific engine. With the help of online generators, sitemap.xml can be done for a site on any CMS or for a static HTML site.
This method has a flaw. It is suitable for sites with a limited number of pages, for example, for business cards sites. If the site has five pages, and you do not plan to create new ones, make sitemap.xml once using a free external service. Examples will come next.
If new pages constantly appear on the site, free external generators are not suitable. They do not include new URLs in the sitemap, so sitemap.xml loses relevance.
Here are a few site map generators:
- XML Sitemaps.
- XML sitemap generator
- Online XML sitemap generator.
- My Sitemap generator.
To create sitemap.xml using XML-Sitemaps, specify the URL of the site and click the Start button.
The generator will create a site map in a few minutes. Download sitemap.xml file to PC hard disk.
Now upload sitemap.xml to the root directory of the site. This can be done using an FTP client, such as FileZilla. We have a guide to working with this program.
If you don’t know where the site’s root directory is, find the index.html file.
How to create a site map using additional modules for CMS
This method of creating a site map is more convenient compared to free online generators. It provides additional flexibility: the webmaster can manage the parameters of sitemap.xml. In addition, add-ins automatically update the site map after creating new pages and notify search engines.
If your site is powered by WordPress, look for the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. Install and activate the module. Go to the settings page. In the basic settings, enable notifications for Google, add the URL of the sitemap to robots.txt, and enable sitemap.xml compression.
In the "Article Priority" section, disable the automatic calculation of the priority of publications. Later you specify the page priorities manually.
Pay attention to the section "Site Map Content". Include in sitemap.xml only those types of pages that you need in the index of search engines.
For example, if you have an online store, it makes sense to include categories and tags pages on the site map. In this case, search engines will show users a catalog page, for example, the "Smartphones" rubric or a catalog page with products marked with the "children" tag. If pages of tags and categories in the issue are not needed, do not include them in the site map.
Be sure to tick the option Include the last modification time. In this case, the plugin will indicate in the site map the date of the last publication update. This information is needed by robots to schedule page rescanning.
In the Excluded Items section, if necessary, exclude certain categories or pages from the site map.
In the section Change Frequencies, you can ask the search engines to index certain types of pages at regular intervals. Search engines will most likely ignore the changefreq parameter in sitemap.xml, since they themselves plan the site crawling budget. Nevertheless, the plugin allows you to specify these settings in the site map.
In the "Priorities" section, specify the priority of the site pages. Valid values are from 0.1 to 1.0. By default, the page has a priority of 0.5. Give high priority to pages that you consider important compared to the rest of the site. For example, if on the main there are announcements of news or new products, it can be considered the most priority page.
Please note that the last update time, the desired indexing frequency and page priority are optional information. Search engines can take it into account, and may not take it into account. You will not lose anything if you leave the default values in these sections.
Save the changes. After that, the Google XML Sitemaps plug-in can be forgotten forever, as it runs in the background, automatically updates and updates the site map itself. All you have to do is add sitemap.xml to the rooms for Google and Yandex Webmasters.
Google XML Sitemaps is not the only WordPress plugin with which you can create a sitemap. For example, in the All in One SEO Pack combine there is a module "XML site map". After activating the module, you can create a site map and configure its settings.
If you are posting videos on a site and you want them to be ranked in the search, you can create a sitemap for videos. To do this, you can use a separate generator, for example, WP Video SEO.
Here are sitemap.xml generators for other engines:
- For Joomla: Sitemap Generator, PWT Sitemap.
- For Drupal: XML Sitemap.
- For OpenCart: Yandex Sitemap.
After creating the site map, add it to the offices of search engine webmasters.
How to add a sitemap to the offices of webmasters
To add a sitemap to the Search Console, select the "Sitemaps" section. Add the URL of the map and click the "Submit" button. Typically, a site map is available at the type of vash-site.ru/sitemap.xml.
The search engine will take some time to index the site map. After indexing, a status of "Success" or an error message will appear. To view the site map indexing report in the new Search Console interface, click on the icon marked on the illustration.
In the report, you can see the indexing data sitemap.xml. For example, if there are pages closed from indexing on the site, a notification about this will appear in the report.
To add sitemap.xml in "Webmaster", select the section "Indexing - Sitemap Files". Enter the URL of the site map in the corresponding field and click the "Add" button.
In the "Webmaster" notification of problems with the site map appears in the section "Diagnostics site." Also, the correctness of the file can be checked using a special tool.
How to create an HTML sitemap
As noted above, the HTML map is a navigation element for live users. If the site has a logical structure and a convenient menu, an HTML map is not needed. If the site is large and users complain about the complexity of the structure, try to solve the problem using the site map.
When I was looking for an example of an HTML sitemap, for some reason I immediately thought of the sites of state pension funds. And no mistake. Apparently, older users find it difficult to navigate the site using the menu. Consider this when deciding whether to add an HTML sitemap.
You can create a sitemap in HTML format on WordPress using the Hierarchical HTML Sitemap plugin or similar solutions. It is enough to install and activate the add-in, and then paste the proposed shortcode on the page where you need a site map.
Here are solutions for other CMS:
- OSMap for Joomla !.
- Sitemap for Drupal.
In OpenCart, an HTML sitemap is created automatically.
Sitemap: create and forget
This is exactly the ideal algorithm for working with sitemap.xml sitemap. To implement it, it is better to use plugins and modules for CMS. They automatically generate the sitemap.xml file and update it when new pages appear on the site.
The created site map should be added to the offices for webmasters "Yandex" and Google. After that, you can really forget about sitemap.xml. If the search engines have problems with indexing the card, they will notify you. To solve the problems, most likely it will be enough to regenerate the map and send it for indexing.