What are Sitemaps and Why Is It Important for SEO?

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Have you ever imagined how Google or other search engines will find your website? Well, there are so-called search engine bots that help websites appear in search engines. In Google's case, these bots are referred to as “Google Spiders”, “Google Bots”, or “Google Crawlers”.

Google Spiders are always running to explore anything they can crawl. These bots continuously surf the web by moving from one link to another, which can be internal (move within the website) or external (go to another site).

Since Google is the most preferred Search Engine, owning your website and all the pages on it is very important. Due to the increasing size and complexity of sites, Google developed a new protocol in 2005, which was designed to use the XML format. This protocol is known as “XML Sitemap”.

So, What is a Sitemap? What type of Sitemap? What are the benefits of having a Sitemap? Too many questions pop up in your mind. Don't worry; we have answers for everything. Let's look at the explanation.

What are XML Sitemaps in SEO?

What are XML Sitemaps in SEO

A sitemap is a file that lists all the important pages of a website. The reason for keeping everything in one “XML Sitemap” file is because it helps crawlers find all the pages in one place, as opposed to finding them via internal links.

The sitemap is a fairly crucial part of the main structure of the website. If you want your website to get a high ranking on the SERPs, the sitemap can also contribute to the SEO strategy that you apply. Simply put, a sitemap is a 'map' or a map that describes each page on your website. 

This map is not just a navigational element displayed under the header section. The sitemap is created in XML (Extensible Markup Language) format and is used by AI to make website indexing easier. Search engines such as Google use XML sitemaps to store web pages more efficiently, providing better results for users when searching for related terms.

How does a Sitemap Look like?

This is how the sitemap looks like. It contains various tags inside:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

  1. <Urlset> : This is the current protocol standard, and these tags are at the beginning and end of the sitemap.
  2. <Url> : This tag is known as the parent tag of any URL entry.
  3. <Loc> : This is your page URL.
  4. <Lastmod> : This tag contains information "what is the last modified date of the file".
  5. <Changefreq> : This tag contains information about how often the file will change. Can be set hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly or never.
  6. <Priority> : This tag indicates the importance of the URL. Its value can range from 0.0 to 1.0.

Why are Sitemaps Important?

Sitemap has an important role in SEO. Search engine bots find pages through Internal Linking. There is a high probability that your important pages may be left out during the crawl process if the internal linking is not proper.

No business or individual wants their important pages to be left unindexed. To avoid such risks, it is always recommended to have an XML Sitemap, as it contains all website URLs to be crawled.

An XML sitemap is a file that lists the important pages of a website. It's important to help Google and other search engines find your pages, crawl them, and index them. XML sitemaps are also known as SEO sitemaps, which explains their purpose well. 

A sitemap will help improve your SEO, allowing your pages to be found by users looking for what you offer in the form of content, videos, images, and products or services. Here are some things to consider when creating an XML sitemap for your website:

1. Improve Results in Search Engines

Search engines, like Google, can crawl every important page on your website faster when you have created an SEO sitemap. When your web pages are drawable, search engines can also index them faster. This means your website will appear in search results. 

Search engines are not updated automatically. They rely on spiders to crawl the web looking for new websites, blogs and pages, as well as changes to any of them, if applicable, and updating already indexed pages.

XML sitemaps are created specifically for the purpose of search engine crawlers finding your website pages and not for humans like HTML sitemaps. It is important for your SEO that you have an XML sitemap as it can help improve your position in search engine results and give your website greater visibility. It's important to remember that Google not only ranks websites as a whole, but also as individual pages.

2. SEO Sitemap Best Practices

Providing search engines with as much information as possible through your SEO sitemap is beneficial for your website. This information can include things like the date of your last update to a page, priority in the page structure, and even how often changes occur. 

While not all search engines pay attention to this information, some do. Big changes like making a website mobile friendly will be noticed. The bot will then crawl the website URL again. Updating your XML sitemap regularly is a good idea. In fact, you can use plug-ins and other tools that can do it automatically. Other things to consider include:

Prioritize high-quality pages. The overall quality of your site is important, but if bots are directed to low-quality pages on your website, search engines will consider your entire site to be low-quality and avoid directing people there. High-quality pages should be optimized, have valuable content, and allow comments to increase engagement.

Keep your sitemap small. If your sitemap is too large, it will overload your server. Maximum size should be 50,000 URLs. If you have more than this, you should break your sitemap into smaller ones.

3. SEO Sitemap Business Benefits

As a business, digital marketing is the key to your success. A business needs to be seen to grow and succeed. To be visible, increasing SEO efforts in any way possible is a good idea. Creating an SEO sitemap for your business is an important step. 

Search engines will find new and updated pages much faster when you include them in your SEO sitemap. When users enter a search related to the subject matter on your page, your results will appear. It's important to note that your sitemap will not help improve your search engine results.

XML Sitemaps are not a ranking factor, but they will help your pages get noticed by search engines. Think of your sitemap as a roadmap or blueprint for your website that allows search engines to find all the important pages instantly. This means users searching to find your page easily. As a business, that's what you want.

What are the Types of Sitemaps?

What are the Types of Sitemaps

1. Image Sitemap

Image sitemaps are specifically created to add information to images about their content. Using this type of sitemap can help you in adding details to your image content, such as geographic location, keywords, etc. Submitting this to Google can help your images rank in Google Image Search.

2. Video Sitemap

A video sitemap helps websites improve your video content with additional information provided to search engines to understand it better. This can include defining video categories, adding audio scripts in videos, and more. Using a video sitemap can help you rank well in Google Video Search.

3. News Sitemap

News sitemaps help your news content be found by Google faster. Your website's uploaded news content that is optimized for Google News can improve rankings with this sitemap. News sitemaps can have additional information about news content for Google News such as domains, publication dates, events, and more.

4. Mobile Mobile Sitemap

Mobile sitemaps, as the name suggests, are specifically to help search engines find mobile-friendly pages on your website. They can be submitted separately to GSC by the website to allow search engines to know which pages on your website offer mobile web content. This is done primarily for mobile SEO, and helps pages rank higher on SERPs on mobile devices.

What is the Sitemap Function for Websites?

What are Sitemaps? Types, Functions and How to Make it

Every website owner and manager should complete his site with a sitemap. Especially for sites that have a lot of content and update frequently because their existence has enormous benefits. 

The following is able to give priority to which pages are important to be indexed first to find index problems on pages or articles. Other complete sitemap functions are as follows:

1. Make it easy for visitors to navigate

The sitemap will make it easy for site visitors to navigate. All content is shown on one page only, so the level of visits or page readability will increase even higher. Apart from that, through a sitemap, it is easier for visitors to find out what content is contained on a website. So it doesn't cause confusion because the website becomes user friendly.

2. Raise the Visibility Level

The purpose of visibility is the level of visibility of a website in data search engines. This is very important, so that the site can get more visits and high traffic. To achieve this desire, one of the best methods is by adding a sitemap.

For example, when content has been found by web crawling, Googlebot will work and explore other links in the navigation menu. As a result, the content can be seen by visitors and if interested, they will definitely open it.

3. Help Set Website Content Architecture

When constructing a building, every architecture definitely needs some kind of framework or blueprint to help expedite the development process. Likewise with website creation, the sitemap has a role as a tool for observing the website structure and the content on it.

A good sitemap must also be made through careful calculations, especially related to the arrangement and sequential link scheme so that it is easy to understand. In addition, with the right link scheme, if one day something goes wrong it becomes easier to identify and fix it again.

4. Reinforcing the Direction of the Website

The sitemap has a function as a keeper of the relevance or relationship of the website. Especially news websites or personal blogs that have a large amount of content. Through the sitemap, anchor text or text snippets whose contents are in the form of links that can be clicked on each content (internal links) will continue to grow.

This will enrich the internal links between pages. As is well known, if successful in implementing a relevant and strong internal link strategy, it can make the site stronger in search engines.

5. Speed up Index Process in Search Engines

Sometimes the content on the website takes a long time to be indexed by search engines. To overcome this problem, website managers can create a sitemap that contains all content. This step will make it easier and faster for web crawlers to run the page index process. Especially for websites that have tens to hundreds of content. 

If it is not equipped with a sitemap, the index process will be more difficult for search engines to do. In addition, links containing relevant anchor text are preferred by search engines. The reason is because it is natural and easy for internet users to understand when searching for data and information.

How do I Create a Sitemap for my Website?

How do I Create a Sitemap for my Website

If you feel you don't have the skills or don't have the time to create a sitemap manually, there are online sitemap generators that you can use at any time. With this generator, you just enter the URL and the tool will generate a sitemap automatically. 

If you want to create a sitemap on WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin which provides a function to create and submit a sitemap automatically. This process is carried out continuously by the Yoast SEO plugin every time you publish a new page so that crawlers can always update your website.

Actually, there are many ways you can try to create a sitemap, such as these:

1. Create with Generator

The first way you can try is using the generate sitemap tool. This tool will help create sitemaps easier and faster. Because basically this tool will help to create sitemaps automatically.

However, some sites require premium access or use paid features to be able to enjoy automatic creation. Some examples of tools that you can try include Google XML Sitemap, Yoast SEO, and many others.

2. Create Manually

Even though there are easier ways, there's no harm in starting by creating a sitemap manually. The goal is to better understand how it works and hone your coding skills. Apart from that, you can also access this method for free. So, to do this, you can follow the steps below:

  • First, open the blog or WordPress page where you want to add a sitemap.
  • Next, try creating an XML file using text editor software. Examples include Notepad, Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, and so on.
  • Then, you can add the source code to the new file. An example of a website sitemap that you can apply is as follows:
What are Sitemaps? Types, Functions and How to Make it

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>: Identify the XML version and character encoding you are using.
<urlset>: Defines the root element of the sitemap.
<url>: To identify the URL or page on the website you entered.
<loc>: Defines the URL or web page address.
<lastmod>: Shows the last date the file was modified.
<changefreq>: Information regarding the frequency of page changes. You can use various values. Such as always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, never.
<priority>: Defines the page priority. The value used is between 0.0 to 1.0.

  • After that, save the file with the name you want. For example, “sitemap.xml” or something else.
  • Don't forget to upload the file to the root directory of your website.
  • Learn how to add a sitemap in Google Webmaster to verify the sitemap you have created.
  • The final step, add the link you got from Google Webmaster to activate the page.

3. Use SEO Plugins

If you use a website platform like WordPress or Joomla, you can also use an SEO plugin to easily create a sitemap. Examples include Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack. So, to create a sitemap in WordPress with a plugin, you can follow these easy steps:

  • First, install and activate the SEO plugin you want via the "Plugin" menu.
  • Once installed, open the plugin settings then look for the “Sitemap” option.
  • Start creating by filling in the details of the page you want to include.
  • Don't forget to save and publish the sitemap.
  • After that, make sure you verify the sitemap with Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • As usual, re-enter the verification link on the website.

How do I Submit a Sitemap to Google all in one SEO?

After you have finished creating the sitemap, the next step is to submit it to the search engine of your choice. First, upload the sitemap to your website, then get the URL for the submission process. To submit a sitemap to Google, you can use Google Search Console. Once you have created an account, click Sitemap on the menu, then in the Add New Sitemap section, upload your file and click Submit.

If you want to submit to Bing, you can use Bing Webmaster Tools. Create an account if you don't have one yet, open My Site, then click My Site Configuration in the menu on the left. Then, click on Sitemap and simply add your URL in the relevant fields. Click Submit, then done!

For the DuckDuckGo search engine, you don't need to submit anything. DuckDuckGo uses information from Bing and Google for its search, so as long as you have submitted it to Google or Bing, your sitemap will also be submitted to DuckDuckGo. Remember, don't include the redirect URL to your sitemap when submitting it.


Sitemap is a fairly important part and must be on your website. Creating a sitemap with a good structure will help maximize website SEO efforts, and ensure easier website navigation for both visitors and search engine crawlers.

So, that was the discussion about sitemaps, their types and functions. If you have just created a website, I suggest you try to check the website list guide on Google Search Console. It will be useful for you especially in terms of SEO. Thank you for following us to the end, I hope this article can be useful for everyone.

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