What is a sitemap and why do you need it?
Moreover, whenever your site gets updated, your sitemap notifies search engines about it. There are two types of audiences a sitemap is useful to - site visitors and web spiders, and there are also two types of sitemaps: HTML and XML sitemaps.
HTML sitemap is for visitors - it helps find information on the page, and it’s usually located in the website's footer.
XML sitemap is for web crawlers - it tells them which parts of the site should be indexed as well as the hierarchy and priority of the site content. The instructions to the sitemap are provided in robots.txt file.
Creating a sitemap and submitting it to Google
Getting a sitemap for your site is simple. You can do it in three steps: generate a sitemap, upload it to your site and notify Google about it. There are two ways to generate a sitemap - either download and install a sitemap generator or use an online sitemap generation tool. There are a lot of options available here.
Some of them are free, but they often have a crawl cap on site URLs, so it’s up to you to decide which one to use.
When choosing an XML sitemap generator, pick one that allows reviewing the crawls of URLs and deleting any duplicated URLs, excluded URLs, etc. - you only want to include the pages on the site that you want a search engine to index.
Once you created a sitemap, you need to upload it to your site document root (http://example.com/sitemap.xml) and let Google know about it - this means that you need to add the site to your Google Sitemaps account.
NOTE: In order to be able to add the sitemap to your account, you need to be the legitimate owner of the site.
Sitemaps: tips and tricks
As you see, we’ve provided you with instructions only for the Google search engine. Well, we chose it because it’s the most important one.
There is also Bing, and the procedure is similar for it. At the moment, Yahoo! and MSN do not support sitemaps, or at least not in the XML format used by Google. Yahoo! allows submitting 'a text file with a list of URLs, and MSN does not offer even that.