A site map is an outline of your website’s content created to help both user and search engines to navigate the website. Some site maps include: hierarchical types, organisation chart or an XML documents that provide instructions to search engine crawl bots. There are many different types of site maps out there but the key is finding your perfect match for site mapping success!
Search engines use site crawlers to read, organise, and index information on the internet. This allows them to effectively display the most relevant results for any given query.
Using XML sitemaps makes it easier for search engine crawlers to read your website’s content and index the pages ready to provide answers for search users. As a result, XML sitemaps boosts your website’s relevance and its SEO ranking.
Your site map gives search engines the location of a particular page on your website. When your site is updated, your updating frequency and the importance and relevance of the other pages on your site. Without a proper sitemap, Google bots will mistake the updates for duplicate content, which will impact your SEO rankings negatively.
First things first, identify your goals. Think about the information your customers will searching for and what you want for them to do with it. Once your goals has been determined, it should serve as your guide in making plans for the rest of your site.
The second thing you need to do is to look at your site’s existing content and structure. Examining your homepage, ask yourself ‘where your homepage links to?’ The answer to that question can be found by simply looking at the menu options on your site.
Considering your SEO rankings, remember that your website has depth, recognising that your subpages will be harder to rank for. Creating a pyramid of pages classified by their importance and intention on how you want them to be indexed is important to ensure vital pages show up in search engine results.
Your site’s architecture demonstrates how visitors will navigate through your website. Clearly defining the structure and association between all areas and pages on your site will create a user-friendly journey.
Imagine you’re on of your online visitors to gain an insightful perspective on what makes the most logical sense as they click through your site. Evaluate every click to make sure a clear and concise path is being made, even in reverse order. Everybody wants an accessible and easy to navigate site to quickly access the pages they need to get to.
After identifying the importance and relevance of each page, it’s time to code those URLs. To do this, format each URL with XML tags. If this is new to you, get started by using the text editor where you can create an XML file.
No one’s perfect and we’re all prone to human error. However, there’s no room for error with your site map for it to function properly.
Luckily, there are tools that can help validate your code to make sure that the syntax is correct. There are many different software available online that can help you do this. All you need to do is to run a quick Google search for sitemap validation, and boom! You’ll have the tools to ensure your site map works perfectly in seconds.
Using XML Sitemap Validator tool, find any errors in your code. For instance, if you forget to add an end tag, the tool will identify the issue.
A root folder is the start of your website’s directory. This folder gives crawlers instructions on how index your site, increasing its relevance to search users. Look for the root folder of your website and add the sitemap file to it. This will add the page to your site. Just type in a website then add “/sitemap/” to the URL.
Now that your sitemap has been made and added to your site files, it’s time to submit them to search engines.
To do this, go to through Google Search Console. Login and once you’re on the search console dashboard, navigate to Crawl > Sitemaps.
Next, click on Add/Test Sitemap which will be found on the top right corner of the screen.
This will give you opportunity for you to test your sitemap again for any errors. Fix any mistakes found before continuing. Once your sitemap is free of errors, you may now click submit.
That’s it! With these 7 steps, you’ve set up a clear site map that will set you up for success. Let Google handle everything else from here. Crawlers will now index your site with ease, which will work for you to boost your SEO ranking.
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