A website site map is a file that lists all or almost all URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL. It is just like an overview of a website's content, which allows the visitors to get quicker access to what they are looking for, and leads the web crawlers to discover all or major web pages of the website for better indexing.
As the size of websites gets larger and larger, and their hierarchy becoming more and more complex, it is difficult for web visitors to easily get what they want, and also for web crawlers to keep track of all information when it crawl through these rapidly changing pages. By putting all the information of a website on one page, website site map is designed for web visitors and search engines to find the data faster and more efficiently.
There are mainly two types of website sitemap — and HTML site map. The XML site map can only make sense to search engines, while the HTML site map is useful to both search engines and web visitors.
XML site map includes more detailed metadata about each URL, such as when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, how important it is, and how it relates to other URLs in the site. By using XML site map, search engines will be able to crawl the site more intelligently (the crawlers can discover all pages, even those are not discovered during the normal crawling process), so that they can make more accurate indexing and ranking. Therefore, to submit XML site map to search engines is very important for a website to attract more attention from the crawlers, especially for those having few links or without well-linked archive of content pages.
Compared to XML site map, HTML site map is friendlier to visitors, enabling them to browser the site more efficiently. With the help of HTML site map, visitors can easily locate a topic they are unable to find by navigating through the site menus. A site with HTML site map can offer a more pleasant user experience to every visitor.
We have already known the importance of website sitemap in winning popularity among search engines and visitors, the next problem is how to build site maps?
The simplest way to build site map is to use site map generator. There are many site map generators providers out there, but almost all of them will charge you dollars for a fully functioned version (some may offer a free limited version for trial). Their discipline is: you cannot enjoy an unlimited version without payment.
SiteMap X is a free site map generator with all functions that other generators may or may not offer. It is able to automatically generate various types (XML, HTML, GZ, TXT) and styles of site maps according to your preference, discover site problems like dead links, automatically upload sitemaps to your server (immediately or scheduled), and notify (ping) Google and other search engines automatically when site map generation is complete (to quicken the indexing process).
You can get such a good site map generator totally free here, and start your website sitemap building right now!
I had been long time bothered by the indexing issue of my site—many of my web pages had never been crawled by any search engines. Someone told me that I needed a site map to improve the indexing of my site. So I searched the internet, got here, figured out the importance of website site map and the most important, found the best site map generator! Thank you so much for helping me perfectly solved my problem!
I used to manually build different types of site map for my site, submit them to server, and every time I made changes in any page on my site, I had to inform the search engines. Well I have to say, that is quite a tedious task as I have to go through every version of the site maps to see if there were some mistakes! Fortunately I find this auto site map generator, and it really saves me lots of time and energy.
--Alder, New Jersey
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