In order to know what content is where on the internet, Google sends out ‘crawlers’ to explore every nook and cranny of almost every website. Once a crawler finds something new, it reports back to Google HQ exactly what it found and where it found it. The next time someone is looking for a relevant piece of content on the internet, Google can check the information from its crawlers and display the appropriate content for the searcher.
The problem is that websites can be complicated. Pages are interlinked with external and internal content, which links back to internal content and deeper into the internet. To save Google’s crawler the time and effort of going back and forth across all these links and websites, you can just give it a map showing what content you have, where it is kept, and when it was last updated.
That map is your XML sitemap. So how do you make one?
- CMS users: If a CMS like WordPress manages your website content, then it will typically have a native tool to create one for you.
- Plugins: Most SEO software suites and tools will have a function to create an XML sitemap for you.