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For Google to quickly and easily identify all of the pages of your website, you will want to make an XML sitemap for Google and other search engines access. That is why we created the best, free online XML sitemap creator, which is easy to use and generates a preview of your the webpages on your website.
To use our free online sitemap maker, simply enter your domain name and wait for the tool to crawl your entire site. As the tool crawls more pages on your website, it will build your sitemap by appending the URLs to the sitemap file that it creates. When the crawl is complete, you can then you can download your sitemap and upload it into Google Search Console for Google to easily access. It should be located on your domain at: domain.com/sitemap.xml Note: If you are using the Yoast plugin, then Yoast can automatically create your sitemap for you which often lives at: domain.com/sitemap_index.xml
An XML sitemap is a plain text XML file which lists all the most important pages across your website. XML sitemaps can be submitted to Google, Bing, and other major search engines to help them discover, crawl, and index your website more easily and effectively. T
Similar to XML Sitemaps are HTML Sitemaps, but the two do not perform the same function. XML sitemaps are specifically used by search engines, whereas HTML sitemaps can be used by search engines but are primarily designed to help users navigate around your site.
To cover this more in depth, an XML sitemap is not solely a list of your website’s URLs. A properly formatted XML sitemap (most commonly found at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml) gives search engines advanced instructions as to which pages have recently changed or are most likely to. You can also edit sitemaps so they inform search engines of the priority of these pages, aka their “crawl priority”.
One way you could do this would be to set crawl priority of the homepage to 1.0 (maximum) and lower the priority for old, outdated content posts.
Your XML sitemap file is the gateway to the inner workings of your website and one of the files that is most heavily relied upon by search engines. Therefore, it’s vital that you feed those search engines the right information through your XML sitemap.
There are a number of common pitfalls that sitemaps can encounter which often create a poor crawl experience for search engine bots, thus leading to them spend less time on your more important pages. Some of these faults include issues such as URLs that redirect to new destinations or follow long redirect chains, parameter pages that have been blocked within the search engine robot’s txt file or within the parameter handling options, and problems in Google Search Console.
To prevent these issues, it’s recommended that you avoid including URLs that are canonicalized to other areas of the website, as doing so will confuse bots and waste crawl time. Also, remove any instances of 4xx error or unsecure URLs on secure domains (HTTPS), as well as outdated content. Finally, be sure to add any new URLs to your XML Sitemap and submit them to the index for faster, easier indexing.
If you want to provide search engines with first-class treatment, do all you can to give them the most easy, straightforward experience possible when crawling your site. In addition to the steps outlined above, we also recommend separating your sitemaps into content specific parts, such as a video sitemap, image, blog posts, and product specific lists.
Doing this makes it much easier for these pages to be discovered and organized by search engines, thus promoting a more enhanced crawl experience and improved organization for webmasters when adding additional URLs.
When generating a sitemap there are several tags that can be used. We have given careful consideration to which tags to include and exclude.
LastMod: We have chosen to exclude the tag because unless you’re constantly manually updating your sitemap with our tool and re-uploading it, you’d incorrectly be telling Google that you never update your pages. We avoid this by excluding the tag.
ChangeFreq: We have chosen to include the change frequency tag and set it to “daily” for every page to encourage Google to keep returning to your website and look for updates and improvements. We have learned in our research, however, that Google may ignore this tag anyway.
Priority: We have chosen to exclude this tag because Google has stated that they ignore it: “Google does not currently consume the attribute in sitemaps.”