DJ SEO Tip: The HTML and XML Sitemaps are Your Website’s Roadmap

November 1, 2018 by Matthew Campbell

Remember the days you would go on a road trip and the only thing you had for navigation was the local roadmap picked up from a gas station?  Then, we moved up in the world to GPS devices to guide our way. Now, we have satellite atlas type guidance direct from your smartphone. Well, people and website crawlers need a roadmap too in order to find all of the pages of your website.  Two website roadmaps are an HTML sitemap and XML Sitemap.  Both are needed for search engine optimization.

What is an HTML Sitemap?  This is a page with links to every page on your website that you want people to visit.  This could include pages, blog posts, events, your portfolio examples, product pages, and staff pages.  All of the links on the HTML sitemap page are in text format and link to the actual page referenced.

If you need to create an HTML sitemap, I recommend 2 ways.  The folks at XML-Sitemaps have done a great job in offering software that will generate an HTML sitemap for your website.  However, if you have a WordPress website, check out the plugin WP Sitemap Page.  What is great about this plugin is that you can enter pages to leave off of the sitemap page.  What pages would that be? You would leave off pages that you do not want to be found by your visitors such as thank you pages and paid ad landing pages.  Sending people to paid ad landing pages, not from an ad will taint your ad conversion data.

apple html sitemap

Now that you have your HTML Sitemap created, how do people and website crawlers find it?  People typically will not utilize a sitemap as it is a data dump of all the pages on your website.  Visitors will prefer to use the main navigation. As a result, I would recommend adding a link to your HTML sitemap in the footer of your website near the copyright.

What is an XML Sitemap?  The XML sitemap is a page on your website that lists all of the pages within your website.  Because Google handles the majority of website search queries, the XML sitemap provides Google with a list of all pages on your website with a link to each page so that the Google crawler can find all of the pages within your website in one location.

If you need to create an XML sitemap, I again recommend the tool at XML-Sitemaps.  However, if you have a WordPress site, instead I would highly recommend utilizing the sitemap feature within the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.  You will have the option to include pages, posts, blog categories, and other category formats.

 

apple xml sitemap

Now that you have your XML Sitemap created, you need to add it in 3 places for Google and crawlers to easily find it.  First, add a reference to the sitemap in your robots.txt file found in the root directory of your website. This is a bit technical, but you can edit the robots.txt file through your hosting cPanel – File Manager.  If you have any questions or feel uncomfortable making the change, please speak with your website hosting company. Please update the below URL to the actual path to your sitemap. The reference you will want to add will be similar to the following:

Sitemap: https://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

Next, you will want to add your XML sitemap to your Google Search Console account.  Verify you are adding the sitemap to the live version of your website – www vs. non-www and HTTP vs. HTTPS.  Below is a screenshot of adding a sitemap to Google Search Console.

google search console sitemap

Finally, you can also add your XML Sitemap to your site’s Bing Webmaster Tools profile as well.

bing webmaster tools sitemap

In conclusion, for search engine optimization and proving a roadmap of your website:

  • * Create an XML Sitemap
  • * Add your XML Sitemap to Google Search Console
  • * Add your XML Sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools
  • * Add your XML Sitemap to your robots.txt file
  • * Create an HTML Sitemap
  • * Add your HTML Sitemap to your website’s footer
Matthew Campbell Matthew Campbell (9 Posts)

Matthew Campbell is the founder of My Wedding Songs. He DJ’d weddings, parties, and High School dances in Montana during the 90s – and also attended a few Mobile Beat Conferences. Matt continued his love of music through the creation of My Wedding Songs. He and his wife, Sharon, live in the wedding capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. My Wedding Songs is a charter member of the Las Vegas Wedding Chamber of Commerce. Matthew is also an SEO Specialist at Horizon Web Marketing since 2014.


Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business, Mobile DJ Sales & Marketing