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Houston Search Engine Optimization recommends that every site have an XML and an HTML sitemap uploaded to the server. If you are unfamiliar with these terms or don’t have both files on your site, read on to find out how to make them, what purpose they serve, and what to do with them once you have them. The purpose of a sitemap is to outline all of the links on your site in one place to make it easier to find the information on your site.
Houston SEO HTML Sitemap
The HTML sitemap (sitemap.html) is a page hosted on the site. It is usually reached in on-site navigation through a link at the navigation bar at the bottom of the page, or through a link in the top navigation bar. This HTML sitemap consists of links to all of the pages on your site. It is useful to site visitors, as well as to search engines like Google that crawl your site.
The structure of the HTML sitemap typically breaks the links up into the corresponding site organization. One example would be a site with content that is broken up into SEO Web Design Services, Spanish SEO Web Design Services, Company Profile, Design Portfolio, Blog, and Contact Us. The sitemap.html for this example could be broken up into those subtopics, with services branching out to Search Engine Marketing, PPC Campaign Management, Website Design, Website Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Consulting Services, Content Development and so on. There may be additional breakdown detailing these services, but you get the idea. The HTML sitemap for this example may look like this:
SEO Web Design Services
- Search Engine Marketing
- PPC Campaign Management
- Website Design
- Website Hosting
- Domain Name Registration
- Consulting Services
- Content Development
Spanish SEO Web Design Services
Houston SEO XML Sitemap
The XML sitemap (sitemap.xml) also lists all of the pages on your site, however it only consists of code and will not be accessed by site visitors. Since this file tells search engines like Google which files to crawl through your site, it is vital to successful traffic.
XML sitemaps should contain information about the url location, how frequently the page is changed, and the importance of the page to the site (highest page priority is 1, lowest is 0). Here is an example of what the code looks like:
Houston SEO XML Sitemap Troubleshooting
Make sure that you do not include any pages on the XML sitemap that you don’t want search engines crawling. Some examples include strings that end in pdf, pages related to your RSS feed (/feed), pages that have robots on them, and pages that contain /wp-content/ or /wp-login/. These pages are related to your blog structure, and do not contain any content that informs search engines about your site. If you include any of these files on your site, they may generate an error and the sitemap won’t work.
Houston SEO Generates XML Sitemap
Generating the code for your site may seem like a daunting task. Luckily, there are many free XML sitemap generators. Make sure to choose the site you use carefully though. Some sites return only a list of URLs they found when crawling your site without the location, change frequency, or priority. Other sites don’t filter out the URLs search engines shouldn’t crawl through, although sometimes they offer an option to plug in code that tells the program what not to include.
How a Houston SEO Uploads XML Sitemap to Webmaster Tools
After you generate your sitemap.xml, upload it onto your Webmaster Tools account. You can do this by navigating to “Site Configuration,” then “Sitemaps.” Upload your sitemap.xml here. If there is ever a problem with the sitemap, after it is crawled a big X shows up next to it. Click on the file link (sitemap.xml) and Webmaster Tools tells you at what line (or lines) return errors.
Don’t forget to update both of your sitemaps every time you add new HTML content! If you have any problems with or questions about your XML Sitemap, please contact our Houston Search Engine Optimization Company at (713) 465-0051.