What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a list of links to all of the sections and pages on your website and is one of the ways search engines learn about a site’s structure and content. A sitemap also contains important information about individual web pages, such as when they were most recently updated, how often they’re updated, and the relative importance of each page. You can even create specific sitemaps based on the type of content on your site. For example, you can have a sitemap for video content and provide details about running time, subject matter, and recommended age restrictions.
While search engines can learn a lot about your site based on external and internal links, a sitemap is especially helpful in the following scenarios:
- Your website is new and/or doesn’t have many external sites linking to it – Search engines discover and index content by following links from one site to another. If few external sites are linking to yours, it is harder for search engines to find your pages.
- Your website has many pages – If your site is very large, it’s possible that search engines may not discover new or updated pages.
- Your pages don’t link to each other – If you have pages that don’t link to any other pages on your site, including them in a sitemap will help search engines find them.
In addition to helping search engines find your content, an HTML sitemap (that is, a sitemap which is displayed as a web page) is a simple way for your site visitors to get an overview of your content and quickly navigate without using menus and navigation links.
Most sitemap extensions for Joomla! allow you to specify how often search engines should check your site for new content and updates. However, if search engines routinely discover that the content hasn’t changed, they will automatically reduce how often they visit regardless of the schedule you specified. The best way to ensure your site is frequently visited and indexed is to specify an accurate change frequency in your sitemap and to create and update your content often. It’s good practice to specify that pages that don’t change frequently, such as ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ pages, are visited less frequently than more dynamic content, such as news and blog articles.
Creating a sitemap in Joomla!
It’s possible to create a static XML or HTML sitemap for your site. However, unless your site is just a few pages of static content, using a dynamic sitemap generator is much easier and quicker. There are many free and paid sitemap extensions available in the Joomla! Extensions Directory (JED).
Look for an extension that creates both HTML and XML sitemaps, allows you to choose which pages and sections to include, and lets you specify update frequency.
An HTML sitemap is a web page that includes links to all of the other pages on your site. It’s an easy way for human visitors and search engines to quickly understand the structure and content of your site. You can think of it as your site’s table of contents.
A basic HTML sitemap may look something like this:
An XML sitemap is used to let search engines know about pages on your website. It’s not designed to be readable by human site visitors. It’s essentially a XML file that contains a list of URLs of site pages and details about the pages, such as when they were created or updated and how often they change.
The content of an XML sitemap may be similar to this:
For more information about sitemaps and SEO for Joomla!, see How to optimize your Joomla! website for search engines and Free tools for managing your Joomla! SEO.
If you have any questions or need help, you can always contact HostPapa Support by opening a support ticket. Details about how to open a support ticket are here.