Sure Oak SEO Tools
XML Sitemap Generator – Create a Free, Easy Sitemap

What Is An XML Sitemap?

An XML sitemap is a plain text XML file which lists all the most important pages across your website. XML sitemaps can be submitted to Google, Bing and other major search engines to help them discover, crawl and index your website more easily and effectively. The more easily search engines can crawl your website, the more likely your rankings are to improve.

Similar to XML Sitemaps are HTML Sitemaps, but the two do not perform the same function. XML sitemaps are specifically used by search engines, whereas HTML sitemaps can be used by search engines but are primarily designed to help users navigate around your site.

To cover this in more depth, an XML sitemap is not solely a list of your website’s URLs. A properly formatted XML sitemap (most commonly found at yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml) gives search engines advanced instructions as to which pages have recently changed or are most likely too. You can also edit sitemaps so they inform search engines of the priority of these pages, AKA their “crawl priority”.

One way you could do this would be to set crawl priority of the homepage to 1.0 (maximum) and lower the priority for old, outdated content posts.

The Online XML Sitemap Generator Tool

If quickly mapping out your website and instructing search engines on how to handle your pages sounds like something you want to try, our free online XML sitemap generator is a great option.

This sitemap tool includes a number of fields, each of which allows you to construct your sitemap to the way that best suits your website’s needs. Even better, it’s easy to use and gives results that are even easier to understand.

Here’s how it works.

First, enter the domain you wish to create a sitemap for, then set its change frequency and crawl priority.

Finally, set the number of pages, between 50 and 5,000, that you want the sitemap tool to crawl to generate a sitemap. Essentially, this last step tells the tool how big your site is.

The Do’s and Don’ts

Your XML sitemap file is the gateway to the inner workings of your website, and it is one of the files that is most heavily relied upon by search engines. Therefore, it’s vital that you feed those search engines the right information through your XML sitemap.

There are a number of common pitfalls that sitemaps can encounter which often create a poor crawl experience for search engine bots, thus leading to them spend less time on your more important pages. Some of these faults include issues such as URLs that redirect to new destinations or follow long redirect chains, parameter pages that have been blocked within the search engine robot’s txt file or within the parameter handling options, and problems in Google Search Console.

To prevent these issues, it’s recommended that you avoid including URLs that are canonicalized to other areas of the website, as doing so will confuse bots and waste crawl time. Also, remove any instances of 4xx error or unsecure URLs on secure domains (HTTPS), as well as outdated content. Finally, be sure to add any new URLs to your XML Sitemap and submit them to the index for faster, easier indexing.

Seperate Your Sitemaps

If you want to provide search engines with 1st class treatment, do all you can to give them the most easy, straightforward experience possible when crawling your site. In addition to the steps outlined above, we also recommend separating your sitemaps into content specific parts, such as a video sitemap, image, blog post and product specific lists. Doing this makes it much easier for these pages to be discovered and organized by search engines, thus promoting a more enhanced crawl experience, as well as improved organization for webmasters when adding additional URLs.