A sitemap is a resource you make for your website to allow it to be discovered by Google and other search engines. Providing resource metadata in the form of sitemaps is a vital method to position your content to appear in search.

Search engine web crawlers crawl your webpages and other site pages that link to your content to retrieve content. The content that crawlers retrieve from your website is what forms a given search engine’s index, which is what they use to return search results.

A sitemap gives search engine systems a direct list of URLs to your content, improving a crawler’s ability to find your webpages as it no longer relies solely on your page’s relationship to other referring pages within your website and on the internet.

What is a sitemap?

The two types of sitemaps are: user sitemaps and sitemaps for search engines. A user sitemap is a page on a site that helps users navigate it by listing and linking to important areas and content.

User sitemaps can be a useful way for users to quickly and easily find the information they need. Clear user menus and breadcrumb navigation should allow users to navigate content without having to reference a map of the site to orient themselves.

Search engines still rely strongly on sitemaps. Since they have limited time (or crawl budget) to index a website, search engine crawlers read the sitemap file first to more intelligently crawl your website. These sitemaps are in xml format and designed for bots. A sitemap can usually be located at:

A search engine sitemap should detail all important URLs and exclude any pages with robots instructions not to index a page.

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