What is Sitemap | Why You Absolutely Need It? Full Guide

You must ensure that your website is search engine optimized if you operate one. A sitemap is a crucial component of that procedure. We'll discuss a sitemap's definition, significance, and creation in this post.

I myself have several projects, several sites that I have been promoting higher in search engines for several years. I have experience in SEO, which allowed me to write this article and share everything I know about the sitemap.

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What is a Sitemap?

The pages on your website are listed in a file called a sitemap. It helps search engines understand the structure of your site and find all of your pages. A sitemap can include information about how often a page is updated, when it was last modified, and the priority of each page relative to the others on your site.

Take a look for yourself. Instead of simple words, I will show you with an example. When creating a sitemap for your site, for each page you get, firstly, the full URL of the page (the path to the HTML file on the hosting), as well as the date of the last changes on this page (this is also shown in the admin panel of your hosting). All this data appears when searching for an old man, as shown in the screenshot below.

Sitemap Upload Result

Sitemap Upload Result

As I said, a sitemap is just XML file that is uploaded to the root folder of your project (in other words, it must be in the same directory as the index file) on your hosting. This is how it looks to me for my Hostinger cPanel. (Since this is my project, some elements have been hidden)

XML File Uploading

XML File Uploading


The XML file itself for each page looks like this:

XML File Example

XML File Example

📌 loc - Full webpage path

📌 lastmod - The last time the page was edited

📌 priority - A score between 0 and 1 that indicates which of your pages will rank higher, how they compete with each other.

At first, I didn’t understand at all what this tag meant and why it was needed, but this can be easily explained by simply entering into the browser’s search bar - site:https://www.example.com, where, of course, you need to replace the site address with your own. You will see the pages and their order, which in essence will be a priority list. This list, if you so desire, can be edited in the XML file itself. This should be done if, for example, the Terms & Conditions page is higher in priority than the main Home page.

Sitemap Priority Tag

Sitemap Priority Tag

Why is a Sitemap Important?

A sitemap is important for a few reasons. First, it helps search engines crawl your site more efficiently. By providing a comprehensive list of all the pages on your site, search engines can quickly and easily find and index your content. This can improve your site's visibility in search results and help you attract more traffic.

Second, a sitemap can help you identify any issues with your site's structure or content. By reviewing your sitemap, you can see which pages are being crawled and which ones aren't. This can help you identify areas of your site that may need improvement or optimization.

So, for example, adding another post to your site, you will not see it among the other URLs in the sitemap until you add a backlink, in other words, you link to it on another page. Moreover, the number of backlinks to this new post directly depends on what priority will be assigned to this page (yes, the priority can be changed, but by default it will be less if you refer to the page only once)

Finally, a sitemap can also help you prioritize your content. By assigning priority levels to each page on your site, you can tell search engines which pages are the most important. This can help ensure that your most important content is displayed prominently in search results. I have already illustrated you this point.

How to Create a Sitemap

Creating a sitemap is a relatively simple process. There are a number of tools and plugins available that can help you generate a sitemap automatically. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Choose a sitemap generator tool or plugin. There are many free and paid options available, depending on your website platform.
  2. Install and activate the sitemap generator. Follow the instructions provided by the tool or plugin.
  3. Customize your sitemap settings. Most generators will allow you to customize things like the frequency of updates and priority levels for each page.
  4. Generate your sitemap. Once you've customized your settings, generate your sitemap file.
  5. Submit your sitemap to search engines. Once you've generated your sitemap file, you'll need to submit it to search engines like Google and Bing. This can be done through their respective webmaster tools.

I do it differently and manually. I use online tools that only require me to enter the address of my site, and after a few minutes I get a finished file, which I then upload to the hosting. It's simple, it's fast. The site already has an article with an analysis of such tools, I recommend that you read it here. Also, before generating the XML file, I highly recommend checking your site for 404 errors (I described why this is important here), in short, due to 404 errors, you may simply not see the desired URL in the XML file.

XML Sitemap Generator - Interface

XML Sitemap Generator - Interface


An indispensable resource for any website owner is a sitemap. You may improve search engines' ability to crawl and index your material by offering a detailed list of all the pages on your website. This might increase the visibility of your website in search results and drive more visitors to it. Making a sitemap is a pretty easy operation that may significantly improve the performance of your site with the correct tools and plugins.


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