When it comes to navigating the ins and outs of search engine optimization and online marketing, there is a lot to know. How do you market effectively online? How do you find the keywords your target market is searching for? How do you build a website that is set up for online success?

While online marketing and SEO can seem daunting at first, if you break it down one piece at a time, it becomes much more manageable. If you’re just getting started in the world of online marketing, one of the first things to learn about and understand is that of sitemaps.

What is a Sitemap?

Essentially, sitemaps are the blueprints of websites. A sitemap is what the search engine crawls and indexes to find out what your website content is all about. Not only that, another main function of a sitemap is to tell search engines what the most important pages of your website are.

There are a few different types of sitemaps. They include the following:

  • News sitemap
  • Video sitemap
  • Image sitemap
  • XML sitemap (normal)

The XML sitemap is the most common form of sitemap out there and is used by most businesses. This sort of sitemap links out to the different pages in your website, creating a hierarchy of pages.

How Do Sitemaps Work?

Sitemaps allow search engines to crawl your site and find all the pages that exist there. If your sitemap is created correctly, search engines can quickly and efficiently crawl your site and find all of the pages. Without a sitemap, those pages can still be found, but not quite as efficiently. In order to speed up page rankings for your site, you’ll want to set it up to succeed from the beginning.

How Do You Create a Sitemap?

The easiest way to get started when creating a sitemap is to use a platform like WordPress. With WordPress, there are plugins (like Yoast SEO) that will actually create the sitemap for you. The other nice thing about a plugin like this is that it will automatically update the sitemap as new pages are added.

So, for instance, when you add a new ecommerce product or put up your latest blog post, a link will be automatically added to the file where your sitemap is located.

If you don’t use the Yoast plugin, there are lots of other plugins on WordPress that can help fill this same role and automatically update your sitemap as you continually build your site.