Trang chủ Onpage SEO What is sitemap? A simple guide to creating and optimizing sitemaps for your website

What is sitemap? A simple guide to creating and optimizing sitemaps for your website

bởi Nguyễn Thành Tiến

What is sitemap ? It is an important weapon in optimizing Technical SEO for the website. It helps search engines crawl and index the content on your website. So what is the term sitemap? How to create sitemap and declare to Google? 

What is a sitemap and how to optimize website sitemap?

What is sitemap? Instructions on how to create a simple sitemap

What is sitemap?

A sitemap , also known as a sitemap, is a file system that contains all the URLs of a website. The links to the main page and subpage are clearly shown in the sitemap.

In addition, sitemaps also help search engines determine which pages are important on your website. From there, give the most optimal search results for the website on the SERPs.

What is sitemap?

What is a sitemap concept?

Sitemap does not help the site increase rankings immediately. But the main job of a sitemap is to help guide search engines to access and crawl your website easily. Thereby, the search engine will evaluate the website more accurately.

Besides, the sitemap also has the function of updating changes when the website has any changes.

Sitemap classification you need to know

In fact, there are two ways to distinguish sitemap types: classification by structure and classification by format.

Sort by structure

According to the structure, there are 2 types of sitemaps, XML and HTML .

Classification of website sitemaps by structure

Classification of sitemaps by structure

  • XML Sitemap: helps search engine bots crawl your website easily and quickly.
  • HTML Sitemap: helps users easily find and access information on the website thanks to the friendliness and convenience of the interface. ( You can also optimize user experience (UX – User Experience) on the HTML sitemap page to improve website rankings).

The key difference between XML sitemap and HTML sitemap is that HTML sitemaps focus on making web pages more human-friendly, whereas XML sitemaps are written only for search engine crawlers. .

Should I use XML or HTML sitemap?

The best way to improve SEO is to use both types of sitemaps above: XML for search engines and HTML for users. Because SEO needs to integrate both users and search engines in order for the website to rank well on the SERPs.

Types of website sitemaps

Sample website sitemap according to new structure classification

Which is better: HTML Sitemap or XML Sitemap?

Sort by format

  • Sitemap Index: A collection of sitemaps attached and used to place in the robots.txt file.
  • Sitemap-category.xml: Set structure of categories in your website.
  • Sitemap-products.xml: Sitemap format for detailed links to products on the website.
  • Sitemap-articles.xml: for the links of articles on the website.
  • Sitemap-tags.xml: used for tags on the website.
  • Sitemap-video.xml: Sitemap contains information related to video on Page and website. Google needs this sitemap to understand the video content on your website.
  • Sitemap-image.xml: Sitemap contains links related to images stored on the website. This is a sitemap used to optimize results returned by images on search engines.
  • Sitemap News: This is a sitemap that allows you to control the content sent to Google News. Google News will find new content in your website faster thanks to this sitemap.
  • Mobile Sitemap: This sitemap is used in case your website has pages that display on mobile devices. Mobile sitemap has nothing to do with increasing the Mobile-Friendly score of the website.
Commonly used XML sitemap format

XML sitemap format is the most popular format today

The role of sitemap in SEO

Sitemap acts as a sitemap containing information of all the URLs on your website. Search engines tend to appreciate websites that have a navigation map when visiting. Therefore, sitemap is very necessary if the website wants to achieve high rankings in the search system.

What is sitemap? Sitemap in Search Console

If the pages on the website are linked properly, Google can detect the content on that website. Website crawling on larger, more complex web pages, or on more specialized files is significantly improved.

The navigation effect of sitemap

Sitemap has a navigational effect when accessing, bringing many benefits to users

Can a website without a sitemap work?

The answer is yes. A website still works normally even if that website does not display the sitemap. However, a website with a detailed, clear sitemap will bring more benefits to users.

Here are 3 benefits that sitemap brings:

Improve SEO Ranking

Sitemap has a certain impact on SEO rankings. It is responsible for notifying the Google search engine whether your website has SEO standards or not.

Increase the ability to index new website

For start-ups, sitemaps are especially useful. Because new websites often have problems with Index. So, sitemap will help Google bots find the sites in your website to index (Index) . It instead informs Google to index the website, which brings many benefits to SEO.

Websites with sitemaps will increase the likelihood of being indexed by Google

New sites with sitemaps are likely to be indexed faster by Google

Support to improve user experience

Sitemap helps visitors to shape and better understand the website structure, and visitors can find the information they need easily and accurately. The more detailed and hierarchical the sitemap, the better the user experience, helping them stay on your website longer.

Sitemap helps improve the user experience on the website

Sitemap helps improve user experience better

Instructions on how to create a Sitemap with WordPress

Download instructions on how to create a Sitemap with Wordpress now:

You can create XML Sitemap with Wordpress in many ways. In this section, I will show you how to use the Google XML sitemap and Yoast SEO plugins to create a sitemap.

Create sitemap with Yoast SEO plugin and Google XML sitemap

Yoast SEO and Google XML sitemap are 2 popular sitemap support plugins today

What to prepare?

To create a sitemap, you need to login to the WordPress admin page. To make it easier to login to the admin page, you can type the domain name and add /wp-admin.

For example: Your wordpress website is, you need to access the admin page under the path

After logging in, you need to enter your account name and password.

Create XML sitemap with Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is a popular plugin used to improve the SEO of a WordPress website or blog. This plugin not only takes care of the technical and content related factors, helping you to generate accurate keyword density, readability, but also helps you create XML sitemaps .

>> See also: What is Yoast SEO plugin ? Important Features of Yoast SEO

Overall, the process of creating a sitemap with Yoast SEO is very easy to do. You just need to follow the steps below.

Step 1 : Install and activate Yoast SEO plugin for Wordpress

install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin

You need to install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin for your wordpress

Step 2: After activating Yoast SEO , click SEO -> Features -> XML Sitemap  to enable sitemap creation for the website.

Go to Features to install Advanced features

Go to Features to install Advanced features

Step 3: Go to SEO -> Search Display -> Content Types to set up what elements will display in the sitemap

Enable and install the XML sitemap feature

Enable and install the XML sitemap feature

Step 4: Complete the sitemap file. You can go to the path domain/sitemap_index.xml to see the sitemap file generated by Yoast SEO.


You can see the XML Sitemap of Wordpress in the XML Sitemap section

You can see the XML Sitemap of Wordpress in the XML Sitemap section

Create XML Sitemap with Google XML

If you don’t want to use the Yoast SEO plugin to create sitemaps, then Google XML Sitemaps is the best alternative for you.

Step 1: Install and activate the Google XML sitemaps plugin

Immediately upon activation, this plugin will automatically create a sitemap for your website. You can view the sitemap by adding the sitemap.xml section to the end of the website address.


Test sitemap after generated with Google XML Sitemaps

Test sitemap after generated with Google XML Sitemaps

Step 2: Install the plugin configuration

This plugin works well for both blogs and websites. However, you should reset the parameters to suit your SEO strategy, make sure you don’t miss anything.

After activating the plugin, simply click on Settings -> XML Sitemap to reset the plugin configuration.

Google XML Sitemaps plugin configuration reset interface

Google XML Sitemaps plugin configuration reset interface

Google XML sitemaps will display the status update snippet at the top. The plugin will notify you when it cannot ping your Sitemap to the search engines. You can disable this notification feature in the general settings to increase the PHP memory limit.

Next, look at the Additional Pages section. You can manually add pages to the XML Sitemap in this section. This is great if your website contains static HTML pages.

Additional Pages section interface

Additional Pages section interface

Besides, you can also adjust the priority for the URLs. The default Google XML Sitemaps uses comment counts to calculate priority.

Post priority is calculated based on the number of comments

Post priority is calculated based on the number of comments

The next two settings of the plugin allow you to include or exclude some unwanted pages from the sitemap. If you do not want to create a Category, a Post or a Tag, click on Excluded Items.

If you want to include a part in the sitemap, tick that item

If you want to include a part in the sitemap, tick that item

Excluded Items item interface

Excluded Items item interface

Normally, the Priorities and Change Frequencies entries are set by default. However, if your website publishes articles continuously, you can change the frequency accordingly.

Priorities and Change Frequencies settings interface

Priorities and Change Frequencies settings interface

Finally, you need to click Update Options to save the changes

Click Update Options to complete the installer

Click Update Options to complete the installer

You can now go to to view the XML sitemap. You can submit this link for Google to understand and index the sites of your website faster.

Should the Sitemap be split?

Purpose of splitting sitemap

You usually add new articles to the sitemap in order of newest first and last. Google will go to the sitemap file and index the latest articles.

However, a problem arose. Assuming the sitemap has 50,000 links, it will take a lot of effort for Google to download that sitemap file and analyze it. If you submit continuously, Google must continuously download the sitemap file.

In fact, Google will check the sitemap file with a frequency of 1 time / day or 1 time / week to not miss any links. Sitemap creation plugins often combine thousands of links into a single sitemap.

Therefore, splitting the sitemap has the function of speeding up Google to help Google find and index sites faster. In fact, splitting sitemaps can also save you bandwidth as well as help Google scan them quickly.

How should the Sitemap be divided?

If you use sitemap generator plugins, split about 500 links per sitemap. You can also subdivide sitemap by content: Sitemap article, Sitemap category, Sitemap video, Sitemap image,

Split sitemap is the best way to save bandwidth

Split sitemap to save bandwidth as well as increase index rate

Frequently asked questions about sitemap

Why create sitemap for website?

  • Improve SEO Ranking
  • Increase the ability to index new website
  • Support to improve user experience

Is HTML sitemap necessary?

Creating a sitemap is an important first SEO step for new websites. However, you should also create sitemaps for older sites. Google recommends sitemaps for sites larger than 500 pages, but most experts recommend setting up a sitemap as soon as you create a site.

How does a sitemap help with the SEO process?

Sitemap is an important factor for SEO and SEO is very important in bringing traffic and revenue to the website. On the other hand, sitemap is essential for search engines to crawl and index the website.

What is the difference between XML sitemap and HTML sitemap?

There are two types of sitemaps: HTML sitemap or XML sitemap. The main difference between the two versions is that HTML sitemap is easily read and understood by users while XML sitemap is created for search engines.

Where should the sitemap of the website be placed?

The best way is to place the sitemap file in the root directory of your . But it can be kept anywhere, even on another domain! Having a sitemap is optional, but it helps search engines find and index new or updated sites more quickly.


Sitemap is one of the effective support tools for the SEO process. Because it helps Google to access the website’s articles faster, even the websites with poor internal links. Thereby, optimizing the visibility of the website on the SERPs.

Reference articles

>> What is SEO ? Standards for building SEO-standard websites
>>The best basic and advanced Onpage SEO 
optimization standards
>>Why is it necessary to build an Offpage SEO 
strategy ?

Above is information and experience about what a sitemap is as well as instructions for creating a simple and easy sitemap. Hopefully the article will be useful to you and help you know how to take advantage of sitemaps in SEO. I wish you early success!

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