A sitemap is a document that details the information on your site and how all the pages and files link together. This can then be used as a map for search engines to find and index all of the content on your site. They can also provide context for search engines to better understand the content on your page.
Sitemaps are most commonly saved in a .xml format. This is a plain text markup that both humans and machines can read and understand.
It is not necessary to have a sitemap for your website to function. In fact, your website can still be crawled by search engines without one. However, it is considered to be best practice and can be beneficial when trying to get all your web pages indexed. They can be especially important when:
You have a new website that does not have very many external links pointing towards your site.
You have orphaned pages (pages that you haven’t yet linked to)
You have a large site with hundreds of different pages to be indexed.
Submitting a sitemap does not guarantee that all of your pages will be crawled or indexed. Due to the different algorithms and processes employed by search engines, it may take longer or require alterations to your page in order for your website to be crawled.
Your sitemap can be found by typing /sitemap.xml at the end of your URL. For example:
If you’ve built your website using Create, we will automatically generate a new sitemap each time you publish / republish your website. This can then be submitted to each search engine to be crawled and indexed.
If you want to specify your own sitemap, you can use a plain text editor to write your sitemap (such as TextEdit on a Mac or Notepad++ on Windows), or you can use a sitemap generator such as xml-sitemaps.com. Be careful when using a sitemap generator that it is an .XML generator and not a .HTML editor as search engines can only read .XML files.
You then need to add your sitemap to your website. If you have a custom sitemap and you are using Create, simply upload your plain text document saved as sitemap.xml to your files area.
You may want to prevent search engines from crawling certain pages of your website such as the checkout process and hidden pages.
You can specify what pages search engines have access to by customising your robots.txt file.
You may also want to exclude specific pages from your sitemap all together. You may have them hidden from view as they're under construction or only to be directly linked to by you for certain things. You can easily exclude a page from your sitemap but please be aware that this will not stop Google from indexing the page if it finds it another way (i.e. through a link on another website or on your own).
To do this please follow the instructions below:
Click on Content on the top menu
Click on the Page Settings icon for that page
Click the tab titled Meta Info
On the option Include In Sitemap, toggle the option to No
Click the green button Save Changes
Publish your website for the change to take effect
Submitting a sitemap will not lead to an improvement in your website’s ranking. However, submitting a sitemap and keeping it regularly maintained can help search engines to better understand the structure of your website and improve the efficiency of its crawl. This could potentially lead to more of your pages being crawled and indexed as a result.
In addition to this, by adding a sitemap, search engines can give you a more in-depth analysis of how your website has been indexed and what pages have crawl problems. This allows you to identify these errors and implement a fix to get those pages indexed.
We recommend submitting a sitemap every time you publish / republish your website. This will help search engines to pick up and reflect any changes to your website as soon as possible.