You might not think about your site map very often, but you’d be surprised how important it can be, especially when you want your actual site to appear in the search engines more frequently.
Site maps work hand in hand with Search Engine Optimization, so if you’re trying to optimize your own SEO, you’re going to need to find your site map and do a bit of tweaking.
But what is a site map and how do you even find it?
We’re going to cover all of the basics in this article, as well as show you a few ways you can find the site map for yourself.
What Is A Site Map?
A site map, also known as an XML sitemap, is a list of pages on a website that is aimed to help search engines place your website in the appropriate place on their search results.
Site maps are filled with lots of information about your URLs which includes pages, videos, images, files, and their relation to each other and the rest of your website.
XML site maps also include a lot of extra metadata about each URL, which includes how often it changes, when it was last updated, and its priority in comparison to other pages.
As previously mentioned, site maps work hand in hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and you want to make sure that your site map is fully optimized and only includes quality content that is indexable.
An important note: if you have any broken pages, (i.e 404s), duplicate pages, or redirects, this can confuse the search engines and drastically reduce your optimization.
How To Find A Site Map
Now that you have a better understanding of what a site map is and why it is important, let’s take a look at a couple of ways you can find it.
It can feel a bit confusing trying to find your site map if you’ve never done it before, but as long as you follow the instructions we’ve provided exactly, you won’t have any issues at all.
So let’s take a look!
1. Robots.txt File
One of the first ways you should use to find your site map is the robots.txt file. This is a special file that is well known to SEOs and it provides useful directives to search engine crawlers.
It’s also in the robots.txt file that you will usually find a link to the site map for your website.
The beauty of this particular way of finding your site map is that it’s incredibly easy and simple to use.
All you need to do to find the robots.txt file is add /robots.tx to the end of a URL.
It will bring up the robots.tx page and at the very bottom, you will see a link to the site map.
So when it comes to finding your own robots.tx file, you simply need to type “yoursitenamehere.com/robots.tx”.
This is the format you will use every time you want to access the robots.tx file.
2. Manually Check Standard Locations
Another way you can find your site map is by looking for it manually.
This sounds really complicated and like you’re going to have to go searching through a lot of places, but it’s a lot more simple than you might think.
All you need to do to find your site map manually is type the following link into your browser:
This will take you to your website’s site map and it only takes a few seconds.
However, this is not the only way or location you can use to access your sitemap. If for whatever reason the above example doesn’t work, you can try this:
If your site has more than one site map, this is the index in which they are all kept.
If you’re still not getting lucky after trying these manual locations, there are plenty more you can try. Here is a list for you to work through:
Always make sure that you put your domain name before the sitemap extension or it won’t work at all.
One of these manual locations is bound to work though, you just have to find out which one it is.
3. Google Search Operators
If the other ways don’t work for you, then you can try Google Search Operators.
This is a powerful tool for SEO and SEO goals. Some examples of SEO goals include content ideas, discovering technical issues, and link building.
Google Search Operators also work for finding site maps, hence why we’ve included this option on this list.
To use this option, you simply need to use the filetype command. You can use it in tandem with the site command, so it will look something like this:
- site: yoursitename.com filetype:xml
This option is slightly more technical than the other two ways you can find your sitemap, but once you get used to it, it won’t feel as complicated.
4. Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools works in a similar fashion to the Google Search Console.
This one is incredibly simple to use because all you need to do is log in and then check the sidebar, where a tab called “sitemap” will appear.
Once you click on this tab, it will take you to your desired sitemap. You do need to have an account with Bing Webmaster Tools, but once you do it is very simple to use.
Finding a site map when you’ve never done it before can feel like quite a stressful task, but as you can see, it really couldn’t be any more simple!
As long as you follow the instructions on the methods we’ve provided, you’ll have no problems finding your site map.
Then you will be able to optimize your SEO in absolutely no time at all.
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