A sitemap is a list of all pages on a website. There are different types of sitemaps, including XML and HTML sitemaps. Read more about sitemaps below and find out why having a sitemap on your website is important for your visibility on Google.


What is a sitemap?

And sitemap (also called a sideo overview) is an overview of all the content on your website. The sitemap helps users find their way around your website, but it also helps search engines (including Google) find all the content on your website. A sitemap is therefore important for your SEO efforts - especially if not all pages on your website can be accessed via the menu structure.

There are different types of sitemaps:

  • XML sitemap
  • Image Sitemap
  • Videositemap
  • HTML Sitemap.

Read more about the four types of sitemaps below.

XML sitemap

If you have a large website with many subpages and a complex menu structure, you can help Google index the site by creating a XML sitemap with a list of all pages on the website you want indexed. The site folder ensures that Google can find all pages and also provides Google with information about the structure and most important pages of the website. In other words, an XML sitemap is important for SEO.

The XML sitemap must be specified in the robots.txt file or submitted to Google via Google Search Console. The former is preferable because the site map can then also be seen by other search engines such as Bing. You can read how to create a sitemap and how to make it available to search engines in the site's robots.txt file at support.google.com.

Please note that an XML sitemap does not guarantee that all pages on your website will be indexed by Google. The reasons for non-indexation described in the article on visibility on Google, may apply even if the pages are specified in the XML sitemap. In other words, an XML sitemap only ensures that Google can find the pages on your website, but does not necessarily index them.

Some CMS systems can automatically create an XML sitemap and automatically update it as you create new pages on the website. This ensures that Google can find and index new pages more quickly - and because Google indexes your own content before anyone else has a chance to copy it, Google knows that you are the rightful author.

Example from an XML sitemap.

Image and video sitemap

You can similarly create image- and video sitemaps to provide Google with information about image and video content on your website. This information helps Google find images and videos that would not otherwise be available to Google (for example, certain images that load with JavaScript) and is an excellent way to help Google understand your image and video content.

We recommend image and video sitemaps if you have an image-rich and/or video-rich website, such as a designer clothing shop or a digital streaming service. In that case, these sitemaps will have a positive effect on your SEO and bring your website extra traffic from Google. You can read more about how to create image and video sitemaps at support.google.com.

HTML sitemap

And HTML sitemap is a regular page on your website that, like an XML sitemap, contains a list of all pages on the website, but unlike an XML sitemap, can be viewed by users on the website. The site map is primarily intended to provide users with an overview of the content (or significant parts of the content) of your website. If you have an XML sitemap and/or a very simple menu structure from which all pages can be accessed, an HTML sitemap is SEO redundant.

Frequently asked questions

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is a list of all pages on a website.

Do I need a sitemap on my website?

A sitemap helps search engines like Google find and index your content. That's why we recommend that all major websites have an XML sitemap.

Which pages should be included in the site folder?

By default, your sitemap should include all pages on your website. However, pages that you do not want indexed on Google should not be included in the sitemap.

What is an HTML sitemap?

An HTML sitemap is a text sitemap that is available to users on your website. Unlike an XML sitemap in code format, which is only available to search engines.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

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