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How to Create an HTML Sitemap

Technical SEO that is well-executed involves making your website crawlable and accessible.

Rilind Elezaj


How to Create an HTML Sitemap

Technical SEO that is well-executed involves making your website crawlable and accessible. The main goal of an HTML sitemap is to help the user in finding the page they’re looking for on the website.


Search engines are unable to keep track of the millions of materials on the internet due to the increasing size and complexity of websites. If your website is large, it’s possible that good content is hidden away where search engines can’t find it.


Search engines use your sitemap to crawl your site, which means they send a bot to the webpage to “read” it. The Google bot and other search engine crawlers then determine what is on that page.


So, in order to keep your website crawlable you need an HTML sitemap. In this article we’ll show you how to create an HTML sitemap, how HTML layout affects SEO and why it is necessary.

What Is an HTML Sitemap?

Consider an HTML (hypertext markup language) sitemap to be a table of contents for your website.


An HTML sitemap is a main list of each link on your website that helps you keep track of your pages and subpages.


Well-crafted HTML sitemaps make it very easy for search engine crawlers and human visitors to find what they’re looking for on the website. HTML sitemaps give you a good start for creating a complete table of contents that makes navigation simple for your users.


It allows users to easily navigate to the webpage they want through an organized list of clickable URLs.


In the HTML sitemap, anchor texts link directly to the pages that they refer to on your website. Visitors can find topics that they would not find in a typical search or on the main menu.


Your users will spend less time searching and more time on your pages if you use an HTML sitemap. That is good news for your website’s SEO ranking.

Creating an HTML Sitemap

If you are unfamiliar with markup languages such as HTML, you may want to write off the possibility of creating an HTML sitemap. But creating a sitemap is simple, and you don’t need to be a coding whiz.

A sitemap can be created in two ways: using a sitemap generator or manually.

Whatever route you take, once your sitemap is complete, submit it to Google Search Console for indexing. As directed by Google, enter your domain and verify ownership. You will then be able to access the search console dashboard. There’s a “Crawl” section on the left. Select “Sitemaps” and then “Add/Test Sitemap.” Any errors will be flagged by the tool. In addition to structuring your website for optimal navigation, exploring development workflows such as using git stash drop command can streamline managing code changes and maintaining a clean repository. This becomes critical as your site grows and the complexity of your projects increases.

Once they are fixed, click submit, and Google will make sure your website is indexed.


HTML sitemap with sitemap generators

HTML sitemap generators make sitemap creation quick, simple, and accurate.


Installing a sitemap in a website may be as simple as installing a plugin, depending on the CMS you’re using.


Download the Hierarchical HTML Sitemap plug-in or the Sitemap plug-in if you use WordPress.


For your website, add a new page with the label “Sitemap.” Then, as directed by the plug-in, add the HTML shortcode to the page. When you’re finished, click Publish. These are free plug-ins that you can use without the need for any coding or configuring.


A sitemap is necessary if your website is large or newly created. An HTML sitemap offers a friendly user experience with simple website navigation.


Sitemaps can have an impact on the search ranking of your pages both directly and indirectly. HTML sitemaps encourage visitors to stay on your website for longer periods of time, lowering your bounce rate.


A sitemap is a great place to start if you want to improve your website’s SEO. Once you’ve done everything you can to optimize your content, make sure you have fast, dependable website hosting that can give you an extra SEO boost.


Adding a new page manually

Using a sitemap generator is much easier than creating a sitemap manually. To learn how to create a sitemap, you need to have intermediate to advanced knowledge of the two markup languages — HTML and XML.


If you want to create an XML sitemap manually, you’ll need to do a lot of coding.


But, it is far easier to create HTML sitemaps manually, especially for small websites with little content.


You do this by creating a new page and linking to all of your content. You can manually create a sitemap if your site is small (100 pages or less). Make a list of all the links on your website and arrange them by pages and subpages.

Guidelines for Creating an HTML Sitemap

It is necessary to include links to all pages that display the site’s structure by main sections, categories, and subcategories. 


At the same time excluding the types of pages with a big proportion in the structure of the site (more than 90%). 


For example:

  • Specific products pages;
  • Filter pages;
  • Posts;
  • Articles;
  • Pagination pages.


It’s important to make sure that the website map is always up to date. This means that it should be automatically updated on a regular basis to make sure that the list of pages is accurate.


For larger websites with lots of pages (more than 150 links), it’s a good idea to split the site map across multiple pages. This is especially useful for sites with a complex structure, as it will help visitors find what they’re looking for.


When creating links use relevant keywords as anchor text. Avoid using transitional phrases like “buy”, “price”, or “order”. These phrases can be a turn-off for visitors.


Include a link to the HTML map in the footer of each page to make it easier for users to navigate your website. If you want, you can also include it on a custom 404 error page. 


When creating a sitemap, be sure to only include links that have a server response code of 200. This will help ensure that your visitors are able to access all of the pages on your site without running into any errors.

HTML sitemap properties

When creating your website map, make sure users can easily find what they’re looking for. Keep it simple without any unnecessary complexity.


Include only relevant links in the map. Don’t include links to pages that no longer exist or are no longer indexed by search engines. This helps users in finding the most recent and relevant content.Make sure your website map accurately reflects your site’s structure. This will help visitors understand how your site is organized and where to find the information they need.


Create a website map that matches the design of the rest of your site. This will create a consistent look and feel that will make it easier for visitors to navigate your site.

Benefits of an HTML Sitemap

When ranking websites, Google considers the user experience. By displaying an HTML sitemap to the search engine giant, you demonstrate your website’s user-friendly functionality.


Any webmaster who wants to have a successful website needs to make sure that users can find content quickly. HTML sitemaps provide a more pleasant user experience that will not frustrate potential customers.


Besides making your website more user-friendly, an HTML sitemap has additional benefits.


  • Categorizing your website’s content
  • Improving the navigation on your website
  • Better methods for adding new content
  • Finding internal linking opportunities


HTML sitemaps optimize your website for search engines, and that is another reason to include one on your website.


A sitemap is essential if your website’s main navigation menu does not link to all of your webpages. It will boost your SEO by displaying important URLs that would otherwise be buried on your website on SERPs. 


Your web pages will be more visible and will do their job of attracting visitors to your website. Visitors will also stay on your website longer because they can easily navigate your pages, which will boost your ranking.


An HTML sitemap also reduces the likelihood of your website having orphaned pages. 


HTML sitemaps eliminate content duplication. Google and other search engines make an effort to index and display pages with unique content. With a clear sitemap, you can easily identify duplicate content and make changes. 


If you discover that your web pages have similar URLs, you can use Google to consolidate the URLs. You have complete control over what your visitors see when they search your pages.

The Difference Between HTML Sitemap and XML Sitemap

There are two kinds of sitemaps: HTML and XML. HTML and extensible markup language (XML) are two coding languages which are used to create web pages. When a new website page is created, web crawlers will discover it and include it in search engine indexes. As a result, XML and HTML sitemaps both help in search engine crawling.


The key difference is that an HTML sitemap helps visitors in finding your site’s content, whereas an XML sitemap is intended exclusively for search engines.

Final Thoughts

An HTML sitemap is important for improving the user experience and the SEO ranking of a website. The HTML sitemap provides a well-organized structure for the website and makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index the pages. It also helps navigation for visitors, allowing them to quickly find what they are looking for. It is not as difficult as it seems to create an HTML sitemap, and it can be done manually or with the help of a sitemap generator.


An HTML sitemap’s main needs are simplicity, clarity, and informativeness. It should help the site in keeping visitors rather than repel them with heavy content, a lot of sections, and menu items.

Sitemaps boost SEO by improving a website’s ranking in SERPs. When a website ranks high in search engine results, it becomes more visible to a larger number of users, resulting in increased traffic.

Creating a sitemap is simple, and you don’t need to be a coding genius. There are several online tools and software available to help you in creating an HTML sitemap without any coding knowledge. However, some knowledge of HTML and website structure can be useful in customizing and optimizing your sitemap for your specific needs.

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