What’s a Sitemap and Why Your Site Needs One — 28 Comments

  1. I thought i know all about sitemaps, but im wrong.. the table of contents plugin is awesome 🙂 thanks for that its a nice way to present archives too..

    • Sitemaps are a simple concept but it seems like there is always something new to learn about them. I learned a couple of things just in writing this post and it’s the second time I’ve mentioned sitemaps on this blog. Glad you learned something too, Jai.

  2. Great information, Lesa. I always thought that sitemaps were solely for the convenience of visitors to a website. I had no idea that they also had a role in getting your site indexed by the search engines.

    I think I have another task for my husband. He’ll love you for planting the seed 🙂

    • Glad you found the information useful. You’ll have to let me know what your husband thinks of the process once he’s gotten it done of you. With great plugins to use, it shouldn’t take any time at all.

      • Lesa, my husband has installed the two sitemap plugins. You were right, it took no time at all. However, the site map produced by Table of Contents Creator only lists blog posts for a single category (see my website), although none of the categories are excluded in the plugin’s settings. Please let me know if you have any idea of why that may be.

        Also, my husband was wondering why you don’t appear to have a site map on this website.

        • To help diagnose the problem with TOC, see if it will display all of your posts without sorting them by category. Under Blog Post Options, check the box for Don’t Show Categories. And Update Options. If all of your posts now show, then TOC isn’t seeing all of your categories. If the same posts are shown, then TOC isn’t communicating properly with the WordPress database.

          I do have a sitemap on this website. It’s just not in the menu bar. You can find it by searching.

          • Thank you, Lesa. Doing what you said did display all posts i.e. TOC is not seeing all my categories.

            Looking through your sitemap, I realise how much good information you’ve got on your site. I think I’ll have to make time to sift through it.

  3. Great summary, I have been using a plugin callled HTML Page Sitemap for my human sitemap in WordPress and YOAST WordPress SEO outputs a sitemap for Google.

  4. Having a sitemap is a must for every webmaster and there is no excuse for not having one especially when there are plugins that can create one just in a few seconds…

  5. As much as I love XML Sitemap on my other sites for some reason it doesn’t always play nice with my primary one. At least once a week I have to rebuild it manually because it forgets to include the category (which of course means it submits every link in a format that returns a 404 error from Google)
    Once I rebuild it’s fine for another week (sometimes two).

    • I’ve never encountered an error with XML Sitemap like you are describing. It seems like there’s a miscommunication somewhere that is causing these errors to return. Have you checked out their support forum? It’s likely someone there has seen this problem before and can help you to resolve it permanently.

  6. Thank you for such a concise rundown. There are so many aspects to internet marketing thank you for sharing your findings. Your post really supports your slogan, to get my business in the conversation.

  7. Sitemaps are something that every web owner should have. I’m often surprised by the amount of people who don’t take the time to do it but I think it’s also because lack of education – but posts like this make it easy to put into place so no excuses now for anyone reading this:)

  8. Well Lesa, they say you learn something new every day and today, I learned about sitemaps. Many thanks for this easy to read-and-apply information. And it is done!

  9. Lesa,

    Thank you for sharing all of this! I was not aware of how sitemaps work or their importance! I have had both plugins at the recommendation of others but I never really knew why! I may have gotten rid of the table of contents one when I was having plugin issues a while back and I was eliminating the ones I thought were unnecessary!


  10. Hi Lesa,

    I remember about the time I started my blog one of the plugins recommended was Google XML Sitemap. At the time I had no idea what it does and why I need it. But now I know and the function is so important. Can you imagine writing all those lovely posts and the search engines do not even know that you exist. That sucks!

    I didnt know about Table of Contents Creator. Guest I’d really look into that.

    Thanks for sharing theses wonderful tips with us.


  11. Hi Lesa,

    I installed Google XML on my blog a while back, and I noticed a steady increase in the number of pages that were indexed by Google and others. I’m not an expert on SEO, but I think you are right that a sitemap is necessary for search engine traffic. If you combine that with other tricks, you can get a lot of free traffic from Google and others. Thanks for sharing.


    • Lou, although you’ve been using Google XML for a while and have seen some increase in traffic, if you haven’t submitted your Sitemap manually to Yahoo!/Bing, I’d suggest you do so. After only getting occasional traffic from Yahoo! and none from Bing, I started getting some decent traffic from both within a few weeks of submitting my Sitemap. You only need to do the submission once…. and it only takes a few minutes. It’s well worth the time investment.

  12. Hi Lesa,
    So much to learn so little time! Great info you’ve posted here – I’m totally sold on the importance of a sitemap, and submitting it to Yahoo!/Bing. I am committed to growing my site’s visibility. Next up: check on the sitemap that exits on my blog/site, see what needs tweaking, then delegate this important task! (Lesa, expect a call soon:)

  13. Excellent detailed info on site maps, Lesa! For search engines other than Google, do you think it’s worthwhile to optimize? Almost all our visitors are coming from Google, so I have to admit that we did not spend too much time for other ones. What are your thoughts on that?

    • When it comes to optimizing your site for search engines, what works for Google works for all the other ones, so you don’t need to do anything different in that regard. However, getting ALL of your traffic from any one source is never a good idea. All it takes is one change affecting that source and your business could dry up overnight. Therefore, you should monitor the traffic you receive from the other search engines and do what you can to increase it: have a sitemap and keep it updated, link your site to other sites that get indexed often, and submit your site if this is an option.

  14. Thank you Lesa for this valuable information. I did not know sitempas were so important I thought their role was to facilitate the navigation in the site of complex sites.
    Now I will ask my webmaster to install these plugins asking him more details to adapt in my site.
    Thanks a lot and thanks for inviting me here;)

  15. Thanks, Lesa, for putting this jargon in plain English. I had no idea that I needed to pay attention to site maps. Now that you have alerted me, I look forward to adding to my skills of managing my own WordPress website. In fact, knowing that there is a tribe of women a lot like me doing this as well will keep me going as I hit those techy hurdles! Great to be here with you all.

  16. Thanks for breaking this down! It’s really important that your site is person friendly, but it’s also so important for the internet robots to find, understand, like and promote your site, too. Thanks again!

  17. What a great post, Lesa! I never really understood how search engines did their crawling, but this article not only shed a LOT of light on the process, it made it CLEAR that we have to help them out with their task if we want to enjoy higher rankings. (Lucky for me that I have such a smarty-pants webmistress!!!) 😉

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