What is a sitemap?
A sitemap visualizes the structure of relationships between the various web pages of a website. In the early stages of website development, sitemaps help developers and clients to get a clear view of the website’s interaction design (IxD). In this stage, the sitemaps will still be editable of course.
After the website development is completed, using sitemaps has many other benefits. Besides easier navigation and higher ranking in search engines (SEO), sitemaps also immediately inform search engines if you make any changes to your website.
A sitemap will not immediately make your website be indexed higher in the search results. Google will take some time to process the changes, but it will definitely index your website faster compared to when it wouldn't have a sitemap.
How do I build and use a sitemap?
- Decide which website pages should be indexed by Google
- Decide the importance of each page
- Decide the sitemap format based on the importance hierarchy (you can do this manually or you can use a third-party tool)
- Make your website sitemap available to search engines like Google by adding it to your robots.txt file