6 June 2020

Creating a site map. What is a sitemap?

To ensure that search engines always provide users with only the most useful and relevant information, site owners are given the opportunity to manage the indexing of their resources themselves. You can inform the search robot about the frequency of updates on the site, about the most important pages in terms of indexing or other indexing parameters using sitemap – a site map.
Sitemap (sitemap) is a special file containing information about the site and designed to control the indexing of web pages. Creating a sitemap using the sitemap file is possible in several ways: as a text document, html page, or in XML format. For search robots, the XML format is preferable, but the sitemap generated in html can be placed on the site for the convenience of users.

There are several ways to create a site map. So, you can write a sitemap file manually as well, which is especially suitable for “advanced” users who have the necessary knowledge and experience for this. However, in most cases, special online services provided by the search engines themselves are used to generate the sitemap file.

How does an online site map generator work?
The sitemap creation service for Google works as follows:

The Starting URL field indicates the address of the site for which you want to create a sitemap file.
Next, the fields Change Frequency (frequency of site updates), Last Modification (date of recent changes), Priority (priority of indexing pages) are filled in. Values ​​for these fields are selected from the drop-down list in accordance with the necessary requirements.
The next step is to click the “Start” button and generate a sitemap file. After generation, the service offers to download this file in the required format and place it in the root directory of the site.
Next, you need to go to your Google account, in the section for webmasters, and there specify the URL of the sitemap file (for example, http: // site_name/sitemap.xml).
In addition to the online services provided by search engines, there are also sitemap generators for use on a home computer. It can be scripts (most often Perl or PHP) or ready-made software tools. Their use requires some programming knowledge. But the further steps after creation are the same as for sitemap generators from search engines: place the file in the root directory of the site and indicate the path to this file to the search engine.

Web Development: sitemap
How does sitemap work?
Contrary to expectations (most likely by inexperienced site creators), using the sitemap file does not guarantee that the site will be indexed or that it will rise higher in search results. Using sitemap just helps the search robot better “understand” the structure of the site, visit all internal links and pages of the site, even those that are accessed only by request or through a form. In addition, there are several nuances of using sitemap. So, assigning an equally high indexing priority to all pages of a site does not actually lead to anything – this would be tantamount to no priority at all. High priorities of the pages of a site do not directly affect its Page Rank, as they are set in relation to other pages of the same site. It should also be distinguished that a html sitemap is not the same as a sitemap xml. The first, in this case, is just a visual hierarchical structure of the site and the search engines html sitemap is not perceived.

It’s also worth saying a few words about updating the sitemap file. Is it necessary to create a sitemap file and feed it to the search engine every time after small changes on the site? No, if you have a little patience and edit the existing file manually. In the sitemap, the indexing parameters of each page are enclosed in tags. Inside these tags contains the URL of the page, its priority and frequency of updates. To change the page address or to add a new one, it is enough to make changes to this section of the code (the page address is contained in the tags).

Summing up, it should be noted once again what advantages the site owner gives the use of sitemap site map:

increased likelihood that the search engine will index all pages on the site;
independent regulation of the indexing priority of each page.