In the past, web developers and website owners used to create plain HTML sitemaps. They were like ordinary lists with links to all pages of the website. This sitemap was more like a navigation element with the ability to reach the desirable page in a single click. You still can meet this approach in some websites, especially in the old ones.
Nowadays, things have changed. Today, developers tend to use XML sitemaps in their products. Main users of this type of sitemaps are search engines, not human visitors. Generally, it’s a set of information that contains the list of all website pages users can ever access.
Also, the sitemap provides information about the frequency of site updates and emphasizes the most important links of the website. For example, this means that if your main page contains more important information than the contact page, this situation will be reflected in the XML sitemap file.
The sitemap doesn’t directly affect the search ratings, impressions, bounce rate, or the number of visits. Instead, it boosts the visibility of your website. Basically, sitemaps tell search engines how to index website pages in the right way to cover the entire product.
It’s the core part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As a result, the site will become more visible for organic search (it’s the type of search when users type the query in the search engine and click on the search result). In some ways, greater visibility may lead to a significant boost of the website’s visitors and impressions.
In this article, we’ll cover 3 great plugins to create an XML sitemap for your website and improve your SERPs (search engine results pages) ranking.
Google XML Sitemaps
The plugin is an extremely popular tool with 2+ million active installations. It’s a free and lightweight solution to improve your website SEO. You won’t even notice that it’s working – the plugin doesn’t slow down or crash your website at all. You are free to use custom URLs and all types of WordPress generated pages – this tool will do its job in any case.
The plugin will automatically generate sitemap.xml and sitemap.xml.gz or other static files you may need in other XML generator plugins. With Google XML Sitemaps you don’t need to care about them – those files are now dynamically created. This tool provides a simple but powerful settings page, so you can manually manage a couple of handy features.
Sitemap by BestWebSoft
This plugin is a great solution for automatic XML sitemap generation that’ll help search engines index your website. It works well with all kinds of web pages. With this tool, you are able to add your website and sitemap to your Google Webmaster Tools account.
You’ll always be able to delete the website and get its info. You can add all kinds of URLs to your sitemap (pages, posts, post categories, post tags, custom post types, and custom taxonomies), add canonical URLs to pages and posts, and even add media sitemap.
The plugin is easy to setup and use. You don’t need to make any additional changes to the source code. The free version will work perfectly, but you still can upgrade to a Pro version and acquire some additional functionality.
In the Pro version, you’ll be able to add custom URLs to the sitemap file, add external sitemap files, or exclude certain pages or post types from your sitemap file. You’ll also be able to set the frequency of your external sitemap and website updates.
XML Sitemap & Google News
It’s a simple plugin that covers all the tasks you need to boost your website SEO. It’s really easy to install – you don’t need to change any files or folder permissions. Just install this tool and start using its advantages. Default settings work great out of the box, so you don’t need to manually configure anything.
This tool is fully compatible with popular caching plugins like WP Super Cache, Quick Cache, and W3 Total Cache. Use them to achieve even higher work speed. You can manually choose what pages or post types should be included in your sitemap or excluded from it. It’s also an ability to set the priority per post, per taxonomy or per post type to highlight the most important ones and mark the least crucial ones.
Today XML Sitemaps are focused on machines, not on humans. Search engines use web crawlers to get the information from your website. And XML sitemaps are the best way to help them understand and index all your pages.
Sitemaps help to correctly identify and allocate links to pages in order to improve website visibility for search engines and, as a result, for organic search. Thus, it’s an important part of an SEO that may indirectly boost the site conversion rate and a total number of visits. Sitemaps are extremely handy to create a proper website that is being parsed by search engines in the right way with no errors or missed webpages.