We’ve discussed sitemaps briefly before in our article, “Your Guide to Understanding Technical SEO”. But, this time we want to be even more helpful by providing actual sitemap tools you can use to generate the best overview of your site so that both users and search engines alike can find exactly what they need. But first, let’s recap.
A sitemap is:
“ a set protocol that allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site.”
And, what is the benefit? According to Google:
“A sitemap tells the crawler which files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page.”
Even if these little directories are so important, you would be surprised by how many sites do not have a sitemap. Or, have one but don’t maintain it to ensure the right links are showcased. So, in order to make things a little easier, here are some of our favorite sitemap tools you can use to generate and maintain your own.
Yoast is a website plugin usually used with WordPress. This connects to your site and allows you to add, remove, and better organize your sitemap all from the backend. It takes the data from your pages and generates its own sitemap. Then, all you have to do it submit these generated sitemaps to search engines for crawling and indexing. Oh, and this is all free, although they do offer a premium version.
Newsflash: You can actually manually create your own sitemap. This may seem tiresome, but if you have a small site that changes often or want to have more control this may be a viable option for you. You can visit the Google Search Console Help to learn more about creating and submitting your own sitemap to ensure it gets picked up by both Google and other search engines.
Screaming Frog has a lot to offer as they not only help with sitemaps but also act as an SEO tool and simulated site crawler. Meaning, they mimic search engines to crawl your site and tell you about health and performance, this way you can ensure your site is top-notch. But, today we are focusing on the sitemap generator. Free for up to 500 URLs, you can download the crawler and have it search your site to create a sitemap. Here’s how you can learn more.
Now that you know what a sitemap is, why it is beneficial, and have some sitemap tools at your disposal we’re sure you’re on your way to website success. However, there’s no judgement in needing help along the way. Be sure to check out Wave’s Optimization services to see how we can help you get there!