An XML sitemap is a document that helps search engines better understand your website while crawling and index the new URLs on your website.
What is a XML sitemap?
Sitemap is a protocol that allows the webmaster for a website to inform Google and other major search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. Sitemaps allow search engines to find all of your webpages, that they might otherwise miss when indexing. The XML sitemap allows you to specify additional information about each URL such as:
- when it was last updated,
- how often the site changes,
- how important the page is in relation to other pages on the site.
Having this information within one document helps search engines understand your website and crawl it more intelligently. Sitemaps are an inclusion protocol, where robots.txt files are exclusionary.
How do I generate a XML sitemap?
Generating a XML sitemap for you website is a simple process, and there are many websites that can help you do so. Google recommends using http://xml-sitemaps.com
Start by visiting the link above in your web browser. On the home page of the website follow the 4 steps and that is it.
Alternative if you use WordPress, you don’t need to do that manually, as there are plugins to do that automatically.
All in One Webmaster by Arpit Shah
All in One Webmaster – Sitemap submission to Google & Bing. Webmaster option 4 Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. Analytics option 4 Google, Quantcast, Clicky, Compete. Another popular plugin that comes in both free and premium versions. Besides getting the sitemap, it also provides options to add meta tags for different services from Google, Bing, Alexa, Blog Catalog, Yahoo and more.
Google XML Sitemaps by Arnee Brachhold
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog. This format is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search. Provide the easiest options to build the XML sitemap dynamically. Once is installed, you’re just required to build the sitemap for the first time, the plugin will keep maintaining the sitemap itself.
XML Sitemaps By Denis de Bernardy & Mike Koepke
Automatically generates XML Sitemaps for your site and notifies search engines when they’re updated. Simple plugin that will just create sitemap automatically.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
This is the most popular plugin to get crucial SEO features on your WordPress – and one of it’s features is XML Sitemaps. If you are already using this plugin, you may enable sitemap feature just by going the XML Sitemaps section. I will not recommend it if you’re just looking for a simple sitemap plugin.
Please leave your comments below with your favourite plugins or share the one you use and not listed above.