Sitemaps are powerful tools that help Google and other search engines navigate through a website and find relevant content and web pages. Let’s understand the importance of site maps and how you can create sitemaps for your website using sitemaps generators.
What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is essentially a file that lists down all the pages of a website in a hierarchical manner. It’s a roadmap for your website’s structure for search engines. Sitemaps are considered crucial for your site design and play an important role in the search engine optimization (SEO) process. They help Google and other search engines to crawl your site efficiently and understand the importance of each page.
Although having a sitemap doesn’t guarantee that your entire website will be crawled and indexed, however, it significantly increases your chances. Sitemaps are generally created in XML, HTML, or CVS format and they help in getting the attention of major search engines to appear in their results pages.
What is the Importance of Sitemaps?
According to Google, you need sitemaps if you have a large site, or your website is new and contains few external links, or it has a lot of rich media content, or is shown in Google News. They are also important for several reasons:
- Improved SEO
Sitemaps provide search engines with a guide to navigate through all pages on a website. This significantly helps search engines like Google to effortlessly locate and index every page that might have otherwise gone unnoticed during crawling. It also increases the chances of a website’s visibility in search results.
- Faster Content Discovery
With a sitemap, you can fast-track the process of search engines identifying and indexing newly added content on a website. This is especially important for websites that undergo frequent updates or introduce new pages, ensuring swift accessibility of their latest content to all their users.
- Better Website Structure
A sitemap provides a transparent layout of the website and showcases the interconnections between different web pages and their organization. This aids search engines as well as website administrators in overseeing the site’s structure, helping in finding gaps or flaws in the site’s architecture and improving user experience.
- Elevate User Experience
Website mapping serves as a valuable resource for users to explore and comprehend a website’s structure, especially in the case of larger websites. They not only help search engines but also visitors to quickly find information, thereby, enhancing their satisfaction rate.
- Aids in Identifying Error
Sitemaps help you to get an overview of your website’s structure and see which pages are being crawled by Google along with its frequency. It also helps you to identify pages that are not being indexed or have broken links and thereby, pinpoints where you need to fix the errors.
Therefore, you need a sitemap to maintain a healthy and accessible website.
How to Generate a Sitemap?
A sitemap is especially useful if you have a dynamic website and frequently add new content, modify it, or add new pages. If you have an online or e-commerce site with a large product catalog or have websites with a multilingual audience, a sitemap can come to your rescue with a proper index of all these pages and help search engines showcase the required page in the search results.
In order to have a sitemap, you can follow a variety of methods to do so. You can create a sitemap manually or use a sitemap generator tool. You can use these tools to easily create sitemaps for your websites.
Top Sitemap Generators that You Can Use
Here are some of the popular and useful sitemap generators and plugins:
This sitemap generator tool enables you to quickly create sitemaps for your website. You can create XML sitemaps by choosing the free or paid version according to your budget and preference. The free tool allows you to create an XML file for free for up to 500 URLs.
If your website consists of more URLs, then you need to opt for the paid plan which costs $4.19 monthly. XML-Sitemaps also offers useful SEO features such as a SERP page checker, sitemap validator, competitor analysis, as well as keyword density calculator.
- Screaming Frog
Like XML-Sitemaps, Screaming Frog also offers you a sitemap generator where you can create free sitemaps with up to 500 URLs and get the paid version if there are more URLs. You can get the paid version for $199 per year.
This tool is a bit advanced and specially designed for larger websites. The sitemap generator of this platform follows this progression- Crawl the website> Check sitemaps> XML sitemaps> Select pages to include.
You can create visual sitemaps with the aid of GlooMaps for free. The sitemap you create on this site stays available for you for 14 days unless you revisit it, extending its validity for another 14 days every time. Once you create the sitemap, you can save it to your computer in XML, PNG, or even PDF format.
- Inspyder Sitemap Creator
The Inspyder site map tool is easy to use and can handle complex sites. You simply need to type in the URL of your website and this platform generates your sitemap in minutes and notifies you via email. Additionally, you can also use this platform to create mobile, video, and image sitemaps. These are created by extracting details from alt tags and adding them to the XML sitemaps.
You can either opt for a free trial version which allows you to create a sitemap for up to 25 pages. The paid version, known as the Inspyder package costs $39.95 and is a one-time payment that allows you to download and install the software on your desktop.
Slickplan is another visual sitemap generator tool with a seamless drag-and-drop interface. This tool is not only easy to use but also offers a WordPress plugin. By using this tool, you can create a sitemap from scratch or begin with an existing website by importing its URL, sitemap index file, or Google XML file.
You can sign up for the 14-day free trial on the website which does not require a credit card. If you want to access all its features, which also include a content planner and diagram maker, you can choose among different paid plans ranging from $10.79 to $103.49 per month. The pricing depends on the number of users, active projects, and storage space you need.
FlowMapp is an ideal visual sitemap generator for creating interactive sitemaps or web development projects. This platform provides a drag-and-drop interface that helps you quickly build and edit a sitemap and can be downloaded in XML. You can also invite your team members and plan, collaborate, and organize your sitemap using FlowMapp.
The free version of this app allows you to create one active project with 50 pages which should be within 100 MB of space. If you opt for its paid option, you can crawl unlimited pages and its pricing ranges from $11 to $120 per month based on your site requirements, users, and space.
WriteMaps is a visual sitemap tool where you can create a sitemap for free for up to 50 pages. You can have 3 active projects, however, you get to purchase its paid plan starting from $16 per month to avail more features.
This tool allows you to export your visual sitemap via PDF and share the unique URL with your team for more input. The biggest advantage of this tool is that you can enable manual inputs and customize your visual sitemap.
With this free tool, you can generate super-fast visual XML sitemaps and submit them to different search engines like Google and Bing for improved website visibility and SEO. You can leverage the website planner of this tool along with lo-fi wireframes to quickly plan and visualize your website’s structure. Take advantage of the interactive flow and the drag-and-drop option to create your map.
- Google XML Sitemap Plugin
The Google sitemap XML generator is a useful and free plugin for WordPress, a content management platform. This plugin is compatible with all Google requirements and you can easily use this for any website size. Apart from XML, this plugin also generates HTML sitemaps and provides various translations which are considered a great add-on.
- Yoast SEO Sitemap Plugin
Yoast SEO is another popular free plugin for WordPress where you can generate an XML sitemap that automatically informs search engines when you publish a new page. It also notifies Google and other search engines if you make any changes to an existing page.
A great feature of this plugin is that it includes important pages and excludes pages that should not be there. Moreover, it breaks larger sitemaps into smaller sitemaps with up to a thousand connected URLs. Yoast SEO also offers several SEO features like templates for titles, and meta descriptions, among others.
Thus, sitemaps play an integral role in defining the structure of your website. They help search engines find your website and showcase the relevant content in the search engine results pages. Check out the different free and paid sitemap generator tools listed in this blog to create a sitemap for your website.