A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on a website to help search engines and visitors navigate and understand the structure of the site. Sitemap serves as a roadmap, providing a hierarchical view of the website’s pages, their relationships, and the overall organization of the content. Sitemaps can be beneficial for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, as they allow search engines to crawl and index your site more effectively. Google says sitemaps are suitable for large websites, websites with extensive archives, or new websites with few links. Every website can benefit from having an XML  sitemap.

What Is a Sitemap of search engine optimization

A sitemap is a file or page that lists all the pages and content on a website, helping search engines and users navigate and understand the structure of a website. Sitemap provides a hierarchical overview of the website’s pages, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index the site. Sitemaps can improve the website’s visibility in search engine results and enhance the user’s experience by providing an organized and accessible layout. Search engines use sitemaps to crawl websites more efficiently. A sitemap is a blueprint of your website that help search engines find, crawl and index all of your website’s content.

Why are Sitemaps Important?

Sitemaps are important for several reasons. Sitemap provide a blueprint of your website’s structure, helping search engines understand and index your content more efficiently. Sitemap can improve your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results. Secondly, sitemaps enable better crawling and indexing of your pages. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use your sitemap to find different pages on your site. sitemap is HUGE for helping Google find pages on your site. If everything looks good, it’s time to submit sitemap to Google.

How to Find a Sitemap

To find a sitemap on a website, you can follow these steps:

  1. Check the website’s footer: Many websites place a link to their sitemap in the footer section of their pages. Look for a link that says “Sitemap” or “XML Sitemap” at the bottom of the website.
  1. Use search engine commands: You can also use search engine commands to search for a website’s sitemap. Type the following into a search engine: “site:websiteurl.com filetype: xml” (replace “websiteurl.com” with the actual website’s URL you want to find the sitemap for). This command will search for XML sitemaps specifically on that website.
  1. Look for a “robots.txt” file: Websites often have a “robots.txt” file that provides instructions to search engine bots on what pages they should crawl. Sometimes, the sitemap URL is included in this file. To find it, add “/robots.txt” at the end of the website’s URL (e.g., websiteurl.com/robots.txt) and look for any references to a sitemap.
  1. Use online sitemap generators: If you’re unable to find a sitemap using the above methods, you can use online sitemap generators. These tools will crawl a website and generate a sitemap for you. Simply search for “online sitemap generator” in a search engine, and you’ll find several options to choose from.

Remember that not all websites may have a sitemap. It depends on the website’s structure and purpose. As you can see, a sitemap index is a simple file that lists all the sitemaps of a website. (Yes, there can be multiple sitemaps.) 

To see the actual sitemap, just click the link to the specific sitemap in the index.

There are four main types of sitemaps:

  • Normal XML Sitemap: This by far the most common type of sitemap. It’s usually in the form of an XML Sitemap that links to different pages on your website.
  • Video Sitemap: Used specifically to help google understand content.
  • News Sitemap: Helps Google find content on sites that are approved for Google News.
  • Image Sitemap: Helps Google find all  hosted on your site.

How to Submit and Check a Sitemap with Google

To submit and check a sitemap with Google, you can follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Google Search Console account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one for free.
  1. Once you’re signed in, select your website property from the dashboard.
  1. In the left-hand sidebar, click on “Sitemaps” under the “Index” section.
  1. Click on the “Add/Test Sitemap” button located at the top right corner.
  1. Enter the URL of your sitemap file in the provided field. The URL should be the location where your sitemap is hosted, typically in the root directory of your website (e.g., example.com/sitemap.xml).
  1. Click on the “Submit” button to submit your sitemap to Google.
  1. After submitting, Google will start processing your sitemap. You can refresh the page to see the status of your sitemap. If it’s successfully processed, you’ll see the number of URLs submitted and indexed.
  1. To check the status of your sitemap in the future, you can go back to the “Sitemaps” section in Google Search Console. It will show you the number of indexed URLs and any errors or warnings related to your sitemap. The main benefit of using Yoast to make your XML sitemap is that it updates automatically (dynamic sitemap).This is basically the equivalent of an XML sitemap. So, a sitemap is HUGE for helping Google find pages on your site.
  2.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO)