There are more and more sites every day, and the struggle for ratings and visibility on the Internet is becoming increasingly complex. While applying simple SEO to your online content in the past may have been enough, things are getting a lot more complicated today. Website owners should use additional elements that can give them this vital advantage and increase their ranking.
One of the important factors is creating a sitemap and submitting it to Google. If your site has just been created, then this step may seem like a serious problem. In fact, adding a sitemap is one of the easiest ways to improve your site’s SEO.
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is an html page of a site or a special xml file that reflects links to all important pages of a site . They are used to indicate important pages on your site and show how they are interconnected. A sitemap is created to help visitors (both people and search engines) easily navigate inside the content of your site . By highlighting the destination of each page and the relationship between them, you can create a hierarchical list that completely maps your domain.
Without a sitemap, two things can happen. Firstly, the speed at which Google will crawl your site may decrease, which can lead to poor or incorrect ranking, or, even worse, your site will not be visible at all. Secondly, it can reduce the user experience, which means that site navigation may seem difficult for visitors and they will not be able to find the necessary content.
XML vs HTML Files
There are two types of sitemaps. The first, XML, has been around for much longer and has been used mainly by website owners to provide search engines with a site layout. This is the first thing Google pays attention to when it crawls your site, as the file instantly provides information, such as the various URLs on the site, how they are related to each other and when they were last updated. You can notify search engines of the location of the file by specifying directions in the robots.txt file. Among other things, you can also upload your sitemap directly to Google or other search engines through their dedicated console.
HTML sitemaps, on the other hand, are created mainly for people visiting your site. This allows any user to quickly view and navigate between all available pages on your site. For example, if they look for additional information about “our team,” they can quickly find a location without looking at every page on your site. It also helps in SEO and ranking, as it improves the overall user experience.
Create a sitemap
If you are an experienced coder or you have a technical team, in this case you have the opportunity to create an XML sitemap that can be uploaded to Google and other search engines. Most popular CMS (such as WordPress or Drupal) have plugins designed specifically for this purpose. There are also many generator applications that can create a map of your site automatically.
- DYNO Mapper
- Screaming frog
How to submit a sitemap
Once you have created your site map, the next step is to submit it for review and approval. Only sitemap XML files are accepted (no HTML), so make sure you are using the correct protocol. This is very important for good SEO, as it gives Google crawlers direct access to content and the ability to bind your domain. In order to quickly send your sitemap to Google, follow these instructions.
- Open the Google Search Console. Before submitting your sitemap, you first need to verify your domain using Google through the Google Search console. After confirmation, return to the console home page to submit the sitemap. You will need to select the domain whose map you want to send. If this is your first site, only one option should be indicated on the main page.
- Click the Sitemaps tab. Then go to the sidebar located on the page on the left. Go to the Scan section and click the arrow next to it to open submenu items in this category. Select “Sitemaps.”
- Add a sitemap. After downloading, you should see a blank main page, with a button in the upper corner – “ADD / CHECK SITEMAP FILE”. Click on it, a popup will appear. Enter “sitemap.xml” in this field.
- Check for errors. Click “Test”, and as soon as this process is completed, click “Open test results” to find and fix errors, if any.
- Send the file. As soon as you click the “Submit” button, the process will be completed! Now Google knows your site map and can easily crawl it. Please note that indexing can take anywhere from four days to four weeks. You can check the results by opening the Sitemap Report in the Search Console.
If you followed the above steps but still don’t see the results, check the following factors to resolve possible errors.
- Make sure you use the correct URL; check your http / https, www and any possible spelling errors
- Avoid compression errors and use a tool you can trust, such as GZIP
- If you submitted a sitemap, go to the “My” tab in the search console; if someone else downloaded it, open the “Everything” section
- Make sure the size of the Sitemap does not exceed the set limit of 50 MB – if so, break it into smaller documents
- Look for invalid dates, tags and URLs – any errors should be highlighted in the report
As you can see, uploading your sitemap to Google is an incredibly simple process – but why should we even do that?
SEO Benefits of Submitting Your Sitemap
SEO is an integral part of the success of any website. Registering your site map is simple, and it can improve your marketing performance in many ways.
Getting information directly from Google . Google’s algorithm is complex, but far from perfect. Pages can lose their visibility if they were incorrectly indexed or search engines could not find them. Submitting your sitemap eliminates this uncertainty as it gives Google direct access to your site along with directions for navigating it . This allows scanners to be more accurate and not skip key pages.
Increase the number of pages scanned . The process of downloading a sitemap will not only improve the quality of your site, but also the quantity. Since website owners can create a page hierarchy and show the relationship of the site, this will lead to the fact that Google crawlers can significantly increase the number of pages . In addition, by providing direct access to Google, more pages will be examined and indexed.
Effective keywords . A sitemap is the perfect tool to increase your keyword targeting skills. Instead of filling your content with keywords, you can create metadata, descriptions, and tags for each link. This hidden cache is ideal for orienting your chosen words in a more optimized way, while maintaining readability for your audience . Google crawlers will receive information from your site and increase the ranking for these keywords.
Avoid checks . There are literally billions of websites on the Internet that Google needs to check, and this number is increasing every day. This huge capacity means that some sites remain invisible, or they have to wait significantly longer to receive notifications. The inability to be noticed by Google is a real concern in this industry . Since loading your sitemap will move you to the very beginning of the line, there is no reason not to!
It works in all search engines . Most talk about SEO revolves around Google, but there are other search engines that have potential customers. A powerful site map can be read and recognized by all search providers, including Bing and Yahoo, which will subsequently improve your overall visibility on the Internet.
Improve your SEO performance in 2018
To guarantee the success of your site, you will need to pay a lot of attention to various factors. SEO is an important element when it comes to the visibility of your site, and your site map is an integral part of it. Ranking on the first page of Google will significantly increase your traffic, so it’s wise to make some efforts.