A sitemap generator is a tool that will create a detailed map of your site so that search engines can understand it better.
If you are using WordPress, the WordPress sitemap can be automatically created with the Yoast SEO plugin.
If you are not on WordPress and you have coded your site, it might be useful to create a sitemap with some tools.
In this article, I am going to unleash all the most important aspects of having a sitemap, what is a sitemap and how to create one for free.
What Is A Sitemap?
A sitemap is nothing more than a structured list of all the links available on your website.
This file can be a
.xml or a
.html file and it will work as a reference to follow for bots when it comes to crawling your site.
Crawling your site means that the Google bots, for instance, will be able to see all the content on your site, what’s new from the previous crawl, and some much more info.
Having a sitemap will make the job of a crawler easier and search engines will deliver your website’s pages with more structure.
Here is how a sitemap looks like!
You can see the URL blocks, how frequently they get updated, and when was the last time they were updated.
If the website is big, there will be a lot of links. The recommended number of links you should not exceed on one single sitemap is 50.000 URLs.
If you have more links than that you should split your sitemap into several sitemaps and use the tag
<loc> on the main
sitemap.xml file. (This is called a: Sitemap index).
You can use the sitemap index tag also if you have multiple parts of your site with different sitemaps.
What Are The Advantages Of Having A Sitemap?
The main advantages of having a sitemap, in a nutshell, are these:
- better and fast indexing for new websites.
- a better understanding of all the pages of big websites.
- if a website is a complex website crawler will have an easier time to reach all the pages.
- pictures and videos will be understood better (there are also rich-media tags for the sitemap).
- when you submit a sitemap you are officially telling the engines to crawl your site.
So now that you know that you must have a sitemap on your site, I will list some of the best mainly free and paid sitemap generator tools to create a sitemap.
I will also tell you very briefly how to submit a sitemap to engines!
Best Sitemap Generator Tools List
This is one of the only completely free tools able to crawl huge amounts of pages in a very nice and structured way.
You can even pick some options and decide if you want to have the ‘last update tag‘ and many other things.
There are almost no cons considering that this is free and it’s one of the best options if you need a free sitemap generator tool.
Web CEO is an SEO software, you can read my review of WebCEO.
There are many interesting features on WebCEO but one of these features is definitely the ability to generate detailed and super good sitemaps.
Web CEO is the best sitemap generator tool but it cost money.
If you have an agency or a business you can also use the SEO features to make your website stand out of the crowd.
Read my WebCEO review to know more.
Yoast SEO is a must have plugin if you are a WordPress user.
On top of guiding you with the best SEO practices, Yoast SEO will also generate an awesome HTML sitemap for your site.
You can from the settings of the plugin decide which elements need to go into your sitemap.
Each time you post new stuff or update an article it will be recorded on your WordPress sitemap.
From the settings, you can decide for instance not to list and not to crawl tags, categories, and all the taxonomies.
This is all automatic, and all you have to do is to play with the settings. The sitemap generated on WordPress is usually located at:
XML sitemap is one of the first results on Google when trying to find a free sitemap generator tool! It is also the most used.
While it works perfectly and is definitely a good free tool, this website with the free version won’t allow you to crawl big sites.
If you have more than let’s say 5000 pages, this tool might not work and also you don’t have a lot of options to pick tags and stuff.
Screaming Frog is an SEO software you can use only from PC. It is not SaaS and you need to buy a license and use it on your machine.
The advantages of screaming frog are that is a super powerful crawler that analyzes your entire website for duplicate titles, descriptions and all the basic technical SEO stuff.
You can also generate huge sitemaps! If you have a website with a lot of pages you will be able also to split the sitemaps and create a sitemap index files for all of them.
Slickplan is a nice content marketing tool that will allow you to do many things such as content planning, diagrams, mockups, and sitemaps.
This is very practical when you have a website idea to help you organize your site, database and things that need to go on your website.
WriteMaps allow you to create 3 sitemaps for free and it is a visual sitemap tool that will help you with the architecture of your site.
You can then easily export and share the created sitemaps in many formats.
DynoMapper is another great visual tool that will allow you to invite a team of collaborators. They will be able to make comments and suggestions to your maps.
You can create and make awesome diagrams and visual maps to help you organize your ideas and thoughts for your site and mind.
On PowerMapper you can create sitemaps with one click only! You can also upload your existing sitemaps and you will see them visualized on the screen.
With the instant visualization of your map on the screen, you will be able to see what parts of your sites needs to be linked better to be crawled better.
This is a very nice tool and you should give it a try as well.
MindNote have also a mobile app, this is a powerful visual tool you can use also for your daily life.
You can create beautiful maps, connect the dots and creativity with one single tool. You can also drop URLs and create a site architecture and then the export it into a
This is a very good visual map tool and it will help you a lot creating an awesome website from your ideas.
XML sitemap generator is a WordPress plugin you can use to generate a sitemap.
I told you before that the best one is Yoast SEO but you can check out this one as well if you don’t trust me.
Sitemap Writer is a PC spider that will allow you to generate huge sitemaps with millions of URLs.
You can do the same with WebCEO and Screaming Frog so I would go for them if you want to spend money.
Inspyder is an SEO company that has a software that makes sitemaps as well. The maps created with this tools are the one called ‘google sitemaps‘.
All of the other tools listed before are creating the same kind of map and some tools are free.
If you have a subscription with Inspyder for other stuff you might want to check out this as well.
Addme SitemapGenerator is an old but still working tool to create sitemaps in a matter of seconds. This service is very fast but the sitemap is not as precise as for the other tools.
Also if you have a big website this tool will not be able to do the job.
And last but not least Web Site Map is another old tool used by a lot of people, together with XML-sitemaps is one of the best free tools to create small sitemaps.
If you need bigger stuff use the first tool for free, or Web CEO if you are willing to pull off your wallet.
How To Submit A Sitemap
If you are looking for an advanced solution you can get web CEO or Screaming Frog. With free tools, unless you have a super complicated site you should be fine.
To submit a sitemap to engines you will need to create a webmaster account with the main search engines.
Here there is a list of 100 search engines, but you don’t want to submit it to all of them!
What I recommend you to do is to create an account with the 3 webmasters tools below, and submit it to them only:
Google is the biggest guy and then also Bing is very interesting and used.
Once the XML sitemap is created you can download it and drop it on your website.
You should have a
sitemap.xmlfile in the root folder. If you have more than one sitemap use the
<loc>tag to give the address of every single sitemap.
Then from your Google webmaster console, you want to click on sitemaps, fill in
sitemap.xml once the file is dropped in the root folder and hit on submit.
As you can see there are 4 sitemaps submitted in my account. The main
sitemap.xml is a sitemap index whereas the other 3 sitemaps are listed.
Once the main sitemap is submitted the other 3 sitemaps will be submitted automatically. You can look at my main sitemap here.
The reason why I have 3 sitemaps is that this website started not on WordPress. WordPress is only one part of the site.
Then there is a forum and an old sitemap of my old site I might delete soon!
So to recap, you need to have a
sitemap.xml file in the root. If you have multiple sitemaps list them all there.
If you want to create a WordPress sitemap for your WP site only, just install Yoast SEO and play with the settings.
The sitemap will be generated! Look at all the settings, for instance, I don’t like tags and other taxonomies to be shown on the SERP.
Now you should be able to understand why a website sitemap is fundamental for your website. How easy it is to create a sitemap with some of these free sitemap generator tools.
Some of them are absolutely free and working perfectly. The first one is the one I always use for my websites where I need a sitemap.
If you are willing to pay some money for an SEO tool that creates also sitemaps, I would go for Web CEO but this is not necessary.
There are probably a lot more sitemap online tools you can test, but as for my experience, these are the best ones and the ones that actually work.
I personally have used the first 5 listed and they all do their job. I have tried the others as well but I think that the first five are the best ones.
Then there are many other tools that promise to create a sitemap but in fact, they are not working properly.
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