So, you have your site up and running, or maybe you don’t just yet and want to plan out a sitemap. If you aren’t familiar with sitemaps, then this is the article for you. Basically, a sitemap, or XML (short for Extensible Markup Language) sitemap, is a list of different pages on your website. Which, is a way to display the information on your site.
Why it’s important to have a sitemap
Sitemaps are important, not because they help you plan out your website, but because it makes search engines like Google and Bing read and organize websites on the internet. So, the easier you make your site for these search engine bots to read the content of your site, as a result, you can increase your website’s SEO ranking.
Without a proper sitemap, Google crawlers may mistake your updated pages as duplicate content, which will damage your website’s SEO ranking.
Review your website’s structure
Starting from your home page look at what pages you have linked from there. And display them in a family tree style layout. Like below.
Under the home page, this is where you will put your main menu links, like about, products, blog, etc. Then under those, you have your subpages, so under about you might team members and company values.
Above is an example of a complete sitemap, notice the child pages, or subpages under About Us and How-To.
According to Search Engine Journal, experts recommend that the furthest a page should be three clicks away from landing on the home page. This is just a guideline instead of a rule.
Using an SEO plugin to create an XML sitemap
This next part is for all my fellow WordPress users, the plugin YoastSEO is a very useful and versatile plugin. There are some other SEO plugins, but I currently use this one and have found it relatively easy to use. Others are:
After logging in to your WordPress Dashboard, click the “SEO” on the left-hand side menu. Under that click on the “General”.
Click on the “features” tab
This is where you can toggle the XML sitemap function. If it is “off” switch it to “on”.
You can also click on the link to view the XML sitemap.
Inform Search Engines where to find your Sitemap
You’ll be able to do this via their separate “webmaster tools”, which are linked above.
Using Google as an example, once you have made your way to the search console dashboard, you want to select the Crawl dropdown option and navigate to sitemaps.
It is there you want to click on Add/test sitemap in the top right of the screen.
So, add and test your site, you may receive a notice that your sitemap has some errors. Fix any mistakes found and then once it is error-free, google will do the rest.
Sitemaps help your SEO ranking
Uploading a sitemap is a great and easy way to boost your SEO ranking, especially when using a WordPress plugin to make and submit it to search engines. The great thing about using a plugin like YoastSEO is that you don’t have to continually update your site map
I hope these tips help you create a sitemap for your new business and increase your SEO ranking. If you think I left anything out or you have any questions let me know in the comments or hit me up. Need to secure your website? Want to connect your domain and hosting? Check out those articles by clicking the links.