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What Is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a blueprint of your website that help search engines find, crawl and index all of your website’s content. Sitemaps also tell search engines which pages on your site are most important.

There are four main types of sitemaps:

Normal XML Sitemap: This by far the most common type of sitemap. It’s usually in the form of an XML Sitemap that links to different pages on your website.

Video Sitemap: Used specifically to help Google understand video content on your page.

News Sitemap: Helps Google find content on sites that are approved for Google News.

Image Sitemap: Helps Google find all of the images hosted on your site.

Why are Sitemaps Important?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing use your sitemap to find different pages on your site.

Sitemaps can help search engines find pages As Google puts it:

“If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site.” In other words: you probably don’t NEED a sitemap. But it definitely won’t hurt your SEO efforts. So it makes sense to use them. There are also a few special cases where a sitemap really comes in handy. For example, Google largely finds webpages through links. And if your site is brand new and only has a handful external backlinks, then a sitemap is HUGE for helping Google find pages on your site. Or maybe you run an ecommerce site with 5 million pages. Unless you internal link PERFECTLY and have a ton of external links, Google’s going to have a tough time finding all of those pages. That’s where sitemaps come in. With that, here’s how to setup a sitemap…and optimize it for SEO.