In Search Engine Optimization, we always hear a word “SITEMAP” and its submission of sitemap to Google. Creating and submitting a Sitemap to Google is one of the very important On Page SEO Factor. The series of questions about Sitemaps is here and I have tried to explain it from the root. Hope you will like this Complete Sitemap Creation and Submission Guide.
You must go through this Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide for brief knowledge of SEO.
Now, What is a Sitemap?
Have you ever read a book? You must be thinking that what kind of question is this? You must have seen the index of a book in which all the contents of the book are listed. Like the index of the book, Sitemap can be considered as the index of a website where all table of contents are placed.
By Definition: Sitemap is a is a complete list of all the web pages of a website which is easily crawlable by the search engine bots. As the sitemap is a list of all the links on your website, it should be well formatted and well structured. Sitemap should be user friendly as well as search engine friendly.
There are five types of Sitemap used for a website namely:
- XML Sitemap
- XML.gz Sitemap
- HTML Sitemap
- ROR Sitemap
- URL List
Lets move to the first one:
1. What is XML Sitemap?
XML Sitemaps are one of the most commonly used type of sitemaps. XML Sitemap is well supported by all the major search Engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. We need to submit the XML sitemap of the website to the Google Webmasters and Bing Webmasters so as to index our website links in the respective search engines. You will learn how to submit a sitemap to Google Webmasters below. You can check a xml sitemap is present in a website or not by typing this URL format “http://YourWebsiteName.com/sitemap.xml”
You can look at the Rusty Blogger Sitemap here at http://rustyblogger.com/sitemap.xml
You must adhere to these Google’s Guidelines to create a XML Sitemap
- URL structure must be specifically defined: You must clearly and specifically define the URL structure. If your website is stated with a URL http://www.YourWebsiteName.com , you must not state the URL by putting any character before that like /http://www.YourWebsiteName.com. You must take care of the https:// and http://.
- Define the Translated versions of the URL: If there are some pages which have the translated versions, you must point those and mark them canonical. Include only main URL out of the translated ones.
- Distribute the Large Sitemaps: A single sitemap should contain less than 50,000 URLs. The size of that should not exceed 50MB at all. Break them into Sub Sitemaps and put all in Index Sitemap. You should submit the Index Sitemap into Google. There is no need to submit all the sitemap separately.
- Solving Canonical issues: If your website is opening with both the www and without www, then you should use only one of the type every time. Rusty Blogger recommends you to solve this issue as early as possible.
How to Create XML Sitemap?
Creation of Sitemap in WordPress: If you are using wordpress CMS then there are Plugins like Google XML Sitemaps and SEO Yoast which help you to create XML Sitemaps.
Creation of Sitemap through third Party Tool: If you are using some other Platform you can create XML sitemap from the Sitemap Generator. You just need to Put your Home Page URL in the URL provided. Once the bot has crawled all the pages. You will get the sitemaps in different formats. Download which is suitable for you and upload in the root directory of your website.
Manual Sitemap Creation: Sometimes it may happen that, your server denies to install the wordpress sitemap plugins or you simply wants to create of your XML Sitemap manually. Then you can Create a Sitemap manually bu=y using this simple code. Here you just need to put the urls as given below.
<?xml version=“1.0” encoding=“UTF-8”?>
Now save this text file with “sitemap.xml” file name and place it in the root directory where it can be easily accessed on request. You should also learn to index a new website to Google Quickly.
2. What is XML.gz Sitemap?
XML.gz Sitemap is the second type of Sitemap which can be used to list all the URLs of your website and submit into the search engines.
Now What is the difference between xml and xml.gz sitemap?
Well both the xml and xml.gz sitemaps contain same type of files but xml.gz is the compressed version of xml sitemap. It is the gzip file which is supported by maximum of search engines. The benefit of using xml.gz sitemap is to access the sitemap faster as the size is a bit compressed as compared to xml sitemap.
If the sitemap you generate id in xml.gz and you still want to use it as xml file, then decompress it and place it in your root directory of your website.
3. What is HTML Sitemap?
HTML sitemap is simple HTML index of a website which is used to make the website easily navigable. In this the links are placed according to the categories so that user can reach its destination easily.
Example: Suppose you are a Travel Agency, the you can make a sitemap with Top Categories such as Travel Destination, Travel News, Foreign Destinations and others. Under these categories you need to place the relevant destination info and other related links so that user can easily navigate them.
If you already have a well formatted website with already defined categories like in RustyBlogger.com, then there is no need to create a HTML sitemap as each category is particularly defined. You must learn How to Ping a website?
4. What is ROR Sitemap?
ROR or Resource of Resources Sitemap is another type of XML sitemap which has an exyension “ror.xml”.
It tells us about the internal things of a website like the product descriptions, prices, their variants, images and other descriptive items.
Here is the syntax of the ROR Sitemap.
Though it was a good option when it had just arrived but now it is of no use at all. Moreover it can led to some crawling issues as well. So I would advise you to not ROR Sitemaps on your website. Just Stick to XML and HTML Sitemaps, these will pay you a lot more than this.
5. What is URL List?
URL List is considered to be an important sitemap for Yahoo. Basically URL List is a simple txt file which contains a list of all the URLs of the website and is saved with the name “urllist.txt”. Then this list is placed in the root directory of the website to access it faster. This URL List is used by Yahoo for indexing the URLs. It is not of very much importance these days. But you can keep it in your website. It holds negligible space.
Importance and Benefits of XML, HTML and other Sitemaps
- Easy Navigation for Users
Sitemaps help the user to navigate your website easily navigable by the users. They can get to the information easily through the sitemap on the website.
- Classifying Content
Sitemaps help you to classify the content and help you to categorize the links. It helps user as well as search engine to understand the layout of the website.
- Easily Accessible by search engines
If you have XML sitemap on your website then your website can be easily accessed by the search engines with the single URL that is your sitemap URL. It becomes easy for search engines to navigate your website easily.
- Self reliant for indexing
Sitemaps make your website self reliant in indexing. Your dependency on other website for indexing is over. Sitemaps let you to index your website into search engines. You can learn to submit sitemap into Google webmasters below.
- Faster Indexing
Creating and submitting a sitemap in Google Webmasters help you to index your website faster than ever. When you submit sitemap into the Google Webmasters, it indexes all the URLs of a website. Dynamic Sitemaps in WordPress automatically adds URLs into the website sitemaps and are indexed in the Google automatically.
See What Matt Cutts, Head of Google Web Spam head says about having a sitemap on your website.
How to submit sitemap into Google Webmasters?
We have discussed above the types of Sitemaps and their importance. Now is the turn to learn How to submit sitemap into Google Webmasters? Submitting a sitemap into Google Webmasters is very important. We already have discussed this in the benefits of sitemap. Also learn How to Find Long Tail Keywords?
Here I am going to explain you how you can submit your sitemap in Google Webmasters(I am claiming that you have created a XML Sitemap by learning the above XML Sitemap creation methods):
1. Firstly you need to Login to Google Webmasters. Here is the Link to the Google Webmasters Tools by Following this Webmasters Link
2. Select the website you have already verified in your Google Webmasters Account
3. Insert the Sitemap URL on the top right hand side box, Add/Test Sitemap. You can test you sitemap which has already been submitted.
4. Press Submit button and wait for few hours. Google will crawl your website and index all the submitted pages listed in the sitemap.
That’s all you have to do to submit your sitemap into Google Webmasters. Similarly you can submit your sitemap to Bing Webmasters. There are similar steps to submit a sitemap into Bing Webmasters.
If you still have any kind of doubt in creation of xml sitemap, benefits of sitemap, submission of sitemap into Google Webmasters. Then I am available to answer your queries. Type your queries in the comment box.
After Indexing you Website into Search Engine You need to create Quality Backlinks. Below I am sharing some lists which will help you to build quality Backlinks.
- High PR Social Bookmarking Sites
- PDF Submission Sites List
- Profile Creation Sites List
- 21 Blog Pinging Sites