What is a Sitemap? How to Create an XML Sitemap

Feb 06, 2016
What is a Sitemap? How to Create an XML Sitemap

Creating a sitemap.xml is a very important step in site inner optimization. Search engine robots do not travel across your website at random. Bots cannot jump over the pages; they follow the links they find on the page. That is why it is important to build the site structure properly. This way, the most important material will be on easily-accessible pages and all the links on the page will be well organized. The less navigational depth there is, the more accessible pages are for the search engine. As during its visits the search program only follows a few links, the website owner has to wait until it goes around the whole site and delivers it to the search results. Depending on the volume of the web project, it may take several weeks to several months, depending on the number of pages and the quality of their content.

What is a Sitemap?

However, Google came up with a special tool, which makes the work of its search program significantly easier. For this, the site owner has the option to prepare a document called a Sitemap. This is a list of links either to all the pages, or at least the most important ones, on your website. With this file, it is much easier for the search engine to study the site and follow the links to view content. The search engine reciprocates such "care" by making access to the site easier for other internet users, i.e. raising the site in the search-engine results.

How to create an XML Sitemap?

Sitemap is an xml-file, which lists the links to all the website pages in sequence. The file is uploaded to the server in the site root folder, and in its special field there is the direct link to this file. During its next visit to the site, the search program reads the file and passes quickly through the links provided there.

There are three ways of creating a sitemap:

  • you can create sitemap.xml manually, but this is very inconvenient;
  • you can generate a sitemap with the help of special online services. This way is more convenient than the first one, but it is also a little unreliable, because you cannot control the process;
  • you can install the Sitemap XML module to create the sitemap automatically.

You can create the file manually, but it is easier to entrust experienced specialists with this task. You only need to give them the link to the site, and they will prepare the appropriate file. By creating the sitemap, you will get the following benefits:

  • the process of adding pages of your site to search engines index will accelerate;
  • the search engines will detect any changes on the site pages more quickly;
  • the users will receive recent and relevant content in response to their questions, and you will get more traffic from search engines in turn.

Therefore, if your Drupal-site has no sitemap.xml file yet, be sure to get one! It will improve your website ranks on the search engine results page (SERP).

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