The importance of sitemaps doesn’t require any emphasis. It is currently very important that every webmaster creates and submits a sitemap to the search engines. A sitemap is basically a list of URLs that describe a website’s sections and pages. The most common sitemap is the HTML-formatted one, but XML sitemaps are also common. Others such as text sitemaps are currently not so common but still useful in some cases. A sitemap is supposed to ensure that users and search engine bots find specific content irrespective of their location on the website. Naturally, websites are crawled periodically by bots but this is unpredictable. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that even during the crawling, all pages will be identified and indexed by the search engines.
Manual Sitemap Creation
Introduced in 2005 by the search engines giant, Google and later adopted by other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo, this innovation was motivated by the fact that some websites have thousands of web pages that cannot easily be crawled as required. There are two main ways to create a sitemap: manually or with the use of a sitemap generator. Creating sitemaps manually is not only time-consuming and tiresome, but also requires average to advanced knowledge of targeted markup languages such as HTML and XML. More than 95% of website owners have very basic IT background and therefore might not be in a position to manually generate sitemaps.
Due to the importance of sitemaps to websites, developers sought to simplify the process of creating, submitting and updating sitemaps. This led to the introduction of sitemap generators that lets users to automatically create, validate, submit and update sitemaps. These tools are amazing at not only speeding up the process but guarantee increased accuracy. Irrespective of the tool you use, there are two main types of sitemap generators; free/limited and premium sitemap generators. Note that there are many sitemap plugins as well but they also fall under the above two broad categories; you are either paying for the service or getting it for free. As you run the sitemap generator, you can engage in other important business activities, waiting for the process to be completed.
Free Sitemap Generators
Creators of sitemap generators usually offer a free version targeting some users, say those who own small websites or would like to try out the service before paying for the same. Mostly, the limited versions have very basic features. In most cases, the number of websites and web pages you can include in a single sitemap is limited. Due to this, they are not very reliable for individuals with websites with many pages. Furthermore, they may not include other features that are reserved for premium users.
These are the most feature packed sitemap generators; you not only get a chance to generate, submit and keep your sitemaps updated, but also get to enjoy many other features. There are various plans, designed to meet a myriad of needs; feel free to go for one that meets your specific requirements. Note that in most cases, you are allowed to unsubscribe at will. Some of the most outstanding features of premium sitemap generators include;
- Up to 50,000 pages for each sitemap you create. This makes it an ideal choice for websites with many pages constantly updated
- You can create any type of sitemap you like; XML, HTML, mobile sitemaps, name it. There are other extras you might be interested in for creating sitemaps for images, videos, news, RSS feeds, among others.
- Ideal for large website by having a certain number of URLs, such as 50,000 per sitemap and adheres to the Google sitemap protocol like creation of a sitemap index.
- The generator will detect and report any broken links that can be harmful to the site’s ranking because they interrupt the crawling process. This way, you can proceed and fix such links fast and retain the robots.
- The sitemap generators notify the search engines automatically after the sitemap has been created.
- They are compatible with different types of websites such as forums, blogs, ecommerce websites, portals, plus many more.
- Auto-refresh capability which ensures that your sitemap can be updated whenever you want.
Sitemaps also lets you prioritize pages so that that the robots are guided to crawl and index those that have a higher rank from 0.1-1.0. The average priority rank is 0.5 but users are discouraged from assigning higher ranks to all the pages; only rank highly pages that are frequently updated. Others such as contact us that are rarely changed don’t have to be prioritized highly.
Sitemap Plugins Vs. Sitemap Generators
There are many installable plugins that you can download and install on your website CMS. How do plugins compare to sitemap generators? Well, they serve the same purpose, but the main difference lies in the way this is done. Plugins are installed on the sitemap whilst you don’t have to install the sitemap generators. You may have to purchase some while others are free of charge and can be downloaded online with ease.
Sitemap Generators and SEO
Websites exists so that the information they contain can be found by users. It is therefore every website owner’s dream to attain the highest possible ranking in SERPs. Creating, submitting and updating sitemaps using a sitemap generator will go a long way in ensuring that you gain higher rankings in SERPs for your target keywords.
The secret to getting the best from a sitemap generator lies in understanding your specific requirements. We might have many tools in the market, but there is no guarantee that all of them are effective. You should therefore take your time, scrutinize these tools and only settle for one that offers real value for your money. At the moment, DYNO Mapper is the best, try it and move your business to the next level of unimaginable success. Creating and updating sitemaps is effortless and worthwhile.