A sitemap, as the name suggests, is an outline of a website. It consists of the content hierarchy of a site and all the pages that are contained in that given website. For search engines like Google site map provides a guide for crawling a website’s pages, providing them information on which parts of the site to prioritize and which ones should be exempted from indexing.
Sitemaps in SEO
In SEO, the pages of a website are not created equal. Some pages are considered more important to others depending on their placement on the sitemap. Google and other search engines rely on the sitemap to tell them which pages to prioritize over others. In any given website, for example, the homepage is considered the most important webpage because everything links from this area. Search engines consider this top level content and therefore will be prioritized over other pages that link from Home (e.g. About, Contact Us, Products, etc.).
How to Make a Sitemap and Submit to Google
1. Plan your website structure
When you upload sitemap to Google, you give the search engine’s bots a guide into your website’s structure. The bots will use this information to identify which parts of your website are considered important (top-level) content. To ensure that your sitemap reflects this information correctly, make sure to plan your website’s content hierarchy according to the level of importance.
2. Create a Google Webmaster account
Once you’re done building your website and adding your content, the next step is to add your sitemap to the Google webmaster tools sitemap section. This gives Google an official go-signal to start indexing your pages in the manner you want them to be indexed and prioritized. To start, you need to create an account with Google Search Console.
3. Get your website verified
Google will only release data on your website to you when it verifies that you are the owner of the site. After creating a Google Search Console account, create a property for your site by entering your website URL. This will take you to a new page where you need to verify your domain. For your Strikingly website, select “Other verification methods” > HTML tag. Copy the code and paste it into the Strikingly site editor.
It usually takes a few hours for Google to confirm website verification but once you’re in your website’s Google Webmaster’s Tool page, go to “Sitemaps” and enter “sitemap.xml” in the space provided and then click Submit. There’s no need to use a third-party sitemaps maker for Strikingly websites. The platform already has its built-in free website mapping tool so if you have structured your pages correctly, you don’t need to do any other step to create a sitemap.
Check out our blog for more digital marketing and SEO hacks.