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What is a Sitemap?

A sitemap informs search engines that individual pages on your site are new or updated and are available for crawling. The sitemap protocol consists of an XML file that includes your website URLs and three other optional pieces of information for each page:

  • How often the URL is updated.
  • The last time the URL was updated.
  • A priority of the URL relative to the other pages on the website.

Select a question to see its answer:

Do websites still use sitemaps?

Absolutely. It’s considered best practice for websites of any size to have a sitemap.

Should I have a sitemap?

Your website benefits from applying a sitemap if it:

  • Is modified frequently
  • Uses Javascript or Flash® for navigation or content display
  • Contains a large database or archive of pages that may be accessible only through a search function

Why does a website need a sitemap?

A sitemap directs search engines when crawling your site, defines which pages to prioritize, and indicates how frequently seach bots should return.

What should a sitemap include?

Include all the pages on your website that visitors could access. In an XML sitemap you can include additional information like:

  • Priority pages
  • Frequency of page updates
  • Pages not to index for search results

Do all websites have a sitemap?

It’s not necessary for a website to have a sitemap. But, adding one will help inform a search engine how to present pages on your website in search results.
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Do I need a sitemap for a small website?

Your site will function just fine without one. A sitemap does help search bots crawl your site, but if you only have a one-page site, or a smaller personal site, it may not be necessary. The larger your site becomes, the more you’ll want to consider adding a sitemap.

Do I need a sitemap for SEO?

Using a sitemap doesn’t ensure that search engines will pick up every page of your site, but it does provide hints for search bots to crawl your site more intelligently. It’s worth considering an XML sitemap as part of your SEO strategy.

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