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How To Create An SEO Sitemap For Your Website?


SEO Sitemap

Having an optimized sitemap is one of the most crucial yet overlooked factors when improving your website's ability to rank higher in search engines. A sitemap acts like an index or table of contents for search bots to understand the structure of your site better when crawling it. 


This step-by-step guide will teach you what an SEO sitemap is, why you need it, and how to easily create one for your WordPress or custom-built website from scratch.


What Is A Sitemap & Why Is It Important For SEO?

A sitemap is an XML file that lists out all the urls and pages of your website in a structured hierarchy. Other than pages, it also includes posts, tags, and categories - basically any link that should be publicly accessible to search bots for indexing. 


Benefits of A Well-Optimized Sitemap

Here are some of the key SEO and ranking benefits of having a well-optimized sitemap:


1. Improves The Crawling Of Your Site

The content and pages search engine bots can discover are limited by how efficiently they can crawl your site architecture. An SEO sitemap clearly lays out all the paths and pages to focus their efforts.


2. Helps Index New Pages Faster 

Whenever you publish new pages or blog posts, it takes time for search engines to discover them. An updated sitemap signals fresh content in a much more immediate manner.


3. Prevents Pages From Getting Delisted  

If you temporarily unpublished a page for editing, the search snippet could be removed from rankings entirely. A sitemap reminds them not to deindex old URLs.


4. Highlights Important Pages & Content  

You can set custom priority tags to tell search bots which pages should rank for which keywords - especially helpful for mega-sites. 


5. Provides Metadata For Better Rankings

Other than URLs, an xml sitemap allows you to specify the last updated dates, update frequencies, and alternate language pages if applicable for any given page.


6. Diagnose Indexing Issues  

By structuring all URLs in one place, you can clearly identify any broken links, deleted pages, or non-indexing issues that may arise.


Factors To Consider When Creating An SEO Sitemap

1. Select Either XML or HTML

XML is preferable and specifically designed for SEO-friendly sitemaps. HTML works, but XML sitemaps tend to be ranked higher by Google.

2. Include All Pages & Posts

Maximizing the links in your sitemap, including blog posts, tags, and author pages - any url you want to be indexed should be present. 

3. Add Multimedia

In addition to text pages, also link to image, audio, video, and PDF content you want search engines to discover. 

4. Define URL Priority Tags

Assign a priority number between 0.1 to 1.0 based on the relative importance of each url for the subject-specific keywords you are targeting.

5. Enhance With Metadata

Utilize the lastmod, changefreq, and alternate language metadata tags to provide additional information about each link.

6. Maintain Clear Information Architecture

Group related subsections, categories, and site content together so search bots can understand how your website is structured.

Step-By-Step Process Of Building Your SEO Sitemap

Follow these exact steps to create your fully optimized SEO-friendly sitemap from any sitemap generator tool:


Choose Your Preferred Sitemap Building Tool

There are many free or paid sitemap-building tools you can use, like XML-Sitemaps.com, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, Google Search Console, or premium WordPress plugins. I recommend XML Sitemaps for its balance of features and ease of use.


Generate A List Of All Website Pages And Posts  

The foundation of any sitemap is having an exhaustive list of all current pages, blog posts, tags, and other standard links that should be crawled and indexed. This list forms the baseline of your sitemap.


Incorporate Non-Text Media URLs  

Besides text-based pages, also link out to other forms of content like product images, video explainers, podcast files, PDF ebooks, and internal site searches - essentially anything you want to appear directly on search engines. 


Assign URL Priority Tags  

Optionally, you can categorize URL priorities between 0.1 to 1.0. This helps search engines identify which pages deserve preferential treatment for keyword rankings. For example, your homepage and product category pages would be 1.0, while dated blogs maybe 0.6-0.7.


Include XML Metadata  

Utilize the <lastmod> tag to indicate when each url was last updated for freshness signals. And the <changefreq> tag to suggest how often you update each section - daily, monthly, or yearly. This further assists in crawling priorities. 


Submit The Sitemap to Search Engines 

The final step is to provide the sitemap url directly within Google and Bing Search Console. You can also embed sitemap links prominently within site footers and robots.txt files for quick discovery.


Regularly Update The Sitemap  

Anytime you modify existing content, restructure site architecture, or publish new pages - you must send an updated sitemap to ensure all changes get picked up accurately. Schedule regular sitemap refreshing.


Wrapping Up 

Creating and maintaining a structured SEO sitemap is essential for unlocking the maximum SEO indexing potential across search engines like Google. Optimize your next sitemap using the actionable tips in this guide. The most value comes from accurately mirroring all publicly accessible URLs throughout your website - don't miss listing even a single important page or content asset! 


This gives you clarity on the critical role sitemaps play within website SEO. Let us know if you have any other sitemap or search engine optimization questions. Also, if you want SEO optimized sitemap structure and don’t know how to create it, then MacroHype is here to help you. Get the best SEO services, so don’t wait anymore and visit us at Info@macrohype.com.

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