Confused about how to locate your sitemap? In this article, we will explain the importance of a sitemap and how to locate it in just a few simple steps.
What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a full list of all the URL links (of all your web pages) within your website. Sitemap files provide information about the pages, videos, files, and information located on a website and how they relate to each other. The XML sitemap is considered to be like an outline of your website, and is used by web developers when planning a website design, undergoing website maintenance or modifying different web pages. Sitemaps also are used by search engines when crawling a website to understand different types of content on each type of page.
For SEO purposes, a sitemap should be optimized to include the most important pages of your website. These pages will contain informative and high-quality content, and are the main drivers of your website’s traffic. Duplicate content is less important to include on a sitemap as it may confuse search engines about which content is most important.
Why do I need to know how to find my sitemap?
It is important to understand where to find your sitemap (if you have one) if you are looking to make any future changes to your website, or if you would like to improve your search engine rankings. If a sitemap is invalid or does not exist, search engines will not be able to identify your website’s content, and therefore will not rank your website well for any keyword phrases you are looking to have associated with it. Sitemaps also serve as a guide for website developers, and allows them to identify and make any changes to existing URLs within your website.
How to find your sitemap?
Now that we have explained the importance of an XML sitemap, you can use the steps below to locate your existing sitemap.
1. First check the root folder of your domain for your sitemap using the URL formats below:
XML Sitemap Example
2. If this does not work, type in your domain name and replace /sitemap with /robots.txt
3. Try searching your website through a search engine and add filetype:xml and ‘sitemap’ in the URL
4. If this does not work, try using a free third party sitemap checking tool to locate your sitemap. Below are a few options to try:
SEO Site Checkup
5. If you have a website that runs on WordPress, you will need to install the following applications to generate a sitemap. WordPress does not automatically provide a sitemap without installing these plugins:
Once you find your sitemap, you will want to make sure that it is well-optimized for search engine use by submitting it to Google. This tells a search engine that your website is available to crawl, and they can rank your website appropriately according to its content. You can submit your sitemap to Google using the Google Search Console tool, as well as the corresponding tools for other common search engines.
How to find your sitemap on Google Search Console
Google Search Console – A website service developed by Google, this application provides tools and insights for website optimization and improved online visibility. You can submit your sitemap to Google for free using the steps below:
1. Sign into your Google Search Console Account
2. Click on your website domain name
3. Hover over the Sitemap section on the left sidebar
4. Add your sitemap URL that you have found using the steps mentioned above
5. Click submit to have your sitemap available for access to Google
How to find your sitemap on Yahoo Site Explorer Sitemap
Yahoo Site Explorer is no more! It’s merged with Bing Webmaster tools.
How to find your sitemap on Bing Webmaster
Bing Webmaster- This application allows you to submit a sitemap to the Bing search engine using the steps below:
1. Login to your existing Windows Live Account
2. Go to the Bing Webmaster Center
3. Locate the URL section and fill in your in your sitemap URL
As you can see, having access to your XML sitemap is important if you want to improve your search engine visibility or make changes to your website. The XML sitemap functions as a roadmap of your website, giving insight into the content different web pages contain and how they relate to each other. If you are unable to locate your XML sitemap using the steps above, you will want to consider having one created through assistance from a website developer. Some website maintenance plans offered will include extra hours for updates that your business requires, which can be then allotted towards creation of an XML sitemap.
Alliance is a top-rated website maintenance services company that helps organizations with security, updates, and improvements to website performance.