What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is a page or file of your site that outlines the pages and posts of your site and their hierarchy. You can think of it like a map or an index.
A sitemap can be created a couple of different ways. It can be an XML file (sitemap.xml) or you can have an actual page on your site that is accessible to visitors. Both have a lot of benefits, and it is generally good to have both.
Why are Sitemaps Important?
A sitemap is incredibly useful for getting your content ranked in search engines. It enables search engine bots to quickly index your whole site without missing important pages and content.
In fact, search engine bots will automatically look for a sitemap.xml file. The location of the file is typically given in a robots.txt file (another file that search engine bots look for).
Having an actual page for a sitemap can be useful for visitors who may be browsing or trying to navigate your site, looking for certain content or to return to a page they are interested in.
Furthermore, it can serve another purpose. It can give you a bird's eye view of your site structure and help you plan and organize your content. You can organize and sort your content according to its relevance to different topics.
If you have a large or complex site, a sitemap is especially important for ensuring that your content is picked up by search engines and easily accessible by everyone.
How Do You Create a Sitemap?
There are a lot of tools you can use that can generate a sitemap for your website, and most are free and are generally easy to use. You can usually have a sitemap generated within a few minutes.
If you use a content management system like WordPress, all you need to do is download a sitemap plugin and it will generate it all automatically.
We recommend the free plugin "XML Sitemap Generator", which is one of the most popular sitemap plugins. It's quick and super easy to use. Just install it and you're done (unless you want to modify the settings, but default should work fine). It generates the XML sitemap that search engines will look for.
Search engines will automatically look for sitemap files which are typically in the xml format. You can see this website's sitemap by going here.
If you want to have a sitemap page on your WordPress site, then the "WP Sitemap Page" may be a great option for you. You just install it, then use the shortcode on the page wherever you want the sitemap to appear.
With it being this quick and easy, you really have no excuse not to include a sitemap on all your sites. So try it and see how it affects your search engine rankings and organic traffic!