Are you wondering how you can create a sitemap for your website? When it comes to getting your Singapore business website on the first page of Google, you need to take advantage of as many SEO best practices as possible. One of the simple techniques that will improve your SEO strategy is creating a sitemap for your website.
What is Sitemap?
This is one of the common questions that we get from clients planning to design a website for their business in Singapore. We do not want to complicate things, in simple terms, a sitemap also referred to as XML sitemap is a list of the different website pages. XML is short for extensible markup language – a way of displaying information on a website.
Unknown to most people, even website developers, is to create a sitemap for your website; you do not need to be a wizard to create one.
Why You Need a Sitemap?
Google and other search engines focus on displaying the most relevant search results to users for any given query. To achieve this goal, they use site crawlers to organize, read, and index information on the internet.
XML sitemaps make it possible for search engine crawlers to read the content you upload on your website and index every webpage accordingly. As a result, this addition to your site will boost the SEO ranking of your website significantly.
Your Singapore website sitemap will help search engines to know the specific location of every page on your Singapore website. Therefore, when you update or redesign your site, it is imperative that you update the sitemap.
Without a properly structured sitemap, Google bots will not be able to understand the structure of your website. The worst case scenario is that the bots might also think that your site contains duplicate content and hurt your current good SEO ranking.
5 Easy Steps to Create a Sitemap for Your Business Website
Step 1: Review the Structure of your Website Pages
Review the existing content on your website to understand how it is structured and organized.
The example above is easy to follow; it starts from the homepage then links to other pages on the website as shown in the menu.
When it comes to SEO, not all the website pages are created equal or have the same impact on your onsite SEO. Therefore, it is essential to make sure to take an in-depth look at your website when doing this review. One fact to keep in mind is that pages that are further away from your website’s homepage will rake more effort to rank compared to other pages.
So, create a hierarchy of the website pages based on their importance or relevance as well as how you want Google or any other search engine to index them. A logical hierarchy will also help to priories your website content and also make the necessary changes in the future after carrying out A/B tests.
Step 2: Code Your URLs
Now that you have created, a logical hierarchy of your website pages, the next thing that you need to do is code the page URLs.
This is done by formatting each website page URL with XML tags. Experience in HTML coding will come in handy when doing this. The first step is getting a text editor to create an XML file. Sublime Text is one of the best tools in the market that you can use for this purpose.
Here are some of the things you need to add in each URL.
- Last changed
- Changed frequency
- Priority of page
Be careful when working with a text editor to avoid any mistakes.
Step 3: Validate/Confirm the Code
Human errors can occur when you code manually. However, you need to make sure that coding is done correctly to ensure that your sitemap is functioning correctly.
Thanks to advancement in technology, there are tools that you can use to confirm that the code syntax is correct. One of the best tools for this purpose is the XML Sitemap Validator Tool. It will pinpoint any errors in the code thereby saving you time that you would have spent checking for the errors manually.
Step 4: Add Sitemap to the Robots.txt and Root
To add the sitemap you just created to the root and robots.txt, you need to locate your Singapore business website root folder first. The next step is adding the sitemap file to this folder.
Note this action will add a page to your website, but this is not an issue. A majority of the site that have a sitemap have this page as well.
Here is a screenshot of Apple website to help you understand what we mean.
In addition to adding the sitemap to the root folder, you also need to go an extra mile and add it to the robots.txt file. This file can be found in the root folder as well. The root folder can also be used to specify which URLs you do not wish search engines to index as it crawls your website.
Step 5: Submit the Sitemap
Congratulations, you have successfully created a sitemap for your website and added it to the correct file. The next crucial step that you need to do is submit it to search engines.
To do this, you need to access Google Search Console dashboard, locate Crawl tab then click on Sitemaps.
Click on Add/Test Sitemap option located on the top right corner of your screen. You can also verify that the sitemap is working correctly by using the test option. Fix any mistakes identified by Google Search Console before submitting it.
Create a Sitemap for Your Website – Alternative Options
Even though the above five steps are simple and straightforward to most people, some website owners find the process too cumbersome and time-consuming. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative options that can create a sitemap for your website without requiring your input.
Let us look at three of the best tools that you can use to create a sitemap for your website.
WordPress Yoast SEO Plugin
Install the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin to your Singapore business website. One of the highlights of this plugin is that it gives you an opportunity to turn the sitemap on and off by clicking on a simple toggle switch. You can also access all XML sitemap options from the SEO section through WordPress after installing the plugin.
Screaming Frog is desktop software that is best known for providing a broad array of SEO (search engine optimization) tools. You will not be charged a penny to use it, and you can generate a sitemap in minutes provided the website has less than 500 pages. If you have a larger site, you will need to upgrade to the paid version.
One of the highlights of the Screaming Frog is that it gives you an opportunity to make all the coding changes that we discussed earlier in this article without having to alter the code manually. It does this by using user-friendly prompts that are written in simple English. Any changes that you make on the code will change the sitemap automatically.
Most pro website developers in Singapore prefer using Slickplan because it offers a visual sitemap builder feature that is convenient to use and user-friendly. You will be given an opportunity to use a sitemap template that is similar to the ones we have discussed.
All you need to do is drag and drop the different website pages into the template to create a logical hierarchy. Once you are satisfied with the way the visual sitemap looks, go ahead and export it in XML file format.
Note that Slickplan is paid software, but there is a free trial that you can use to get a clear perspective of how it works and what to expect before purchasing the paid plan.
If you want to improve your SEO strategy and increase website ranking in Singapore, use the following steps to create a sitemap for your website. Here is a summary of the five steps of creating a sitemap.
- Review your pages
- Code the URLs
- Validate the code
- Add sitemap to the robot.txt and root
- Submit the sitemap via Google Search Console
Our professional web design team will not only create a custom theme for your business website in Singapore but also come up with the sitemap and submit it on your behalf. Contact us today for this and other services that we offer such as SEO and digital marketing consultancy.