Different Types of Sitemap

Sitemaps, as the name implies, are just a map of your site. i.e. on one single page you show the structure of your site, its sections, the links between them, etc. Sitemaps make navigating your site easier and having an updated sitemap on your site is good both for your users and for search engines. Normally there are two types of sitemap from the viewpoint of purpose, one for the real users and another one for the web crawlers. For real user you can use html sitemap generated either by Php or by asp etc. You may opt for any one as it is the output that matters.

Let see the sitemap which can be used for the Real users:

HTML Sitemap:

Code example of HTML:

html lang="en"
head This is a site map head
h1 header of HTML site map h1
p site map paragraph with links

You can also have an Xml version of the above mentioned sitemap i.e. html sitemap as xml

Code example of XHTML:

?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"
!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"
html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
head This is a site map head
h1 header of XHTML site map h1
p site map paragraph with links p

Apart from these let see the sitemap that serves the purpose of Search Engines i.e. Sitemap in the format which Search Engine understands, as such sitemap are only visible to search engines they are worthless for Real people. Anyway its importance cannot be Underestimated.

Text sitemaps

Text sitemaps contain one website url per line. Many search engines including Google and Yahoo can scan text sitemaps. For Yahoo, name the primary text sitemap file urllist.txt.

Example of text sitemap file:


ROR sitemaps

ROR (Resources of a resource) expands on the RSS protocol with its own extensions. The standard file extension for ROR files is .ror. All search engines that understand RSS sitemap files continue to understand the RSS parts of ROR files. However, no major search engine, if any at all, currently supports the ROR sitemap extensions. So let we don’t elaborate it.

XML sitemaps

In 2005 Google started its own sitemaps protocol based on XML. It was called Google Sitemaps. Google later convinced more search engines to follow and the standard was renamed to XML sitemaps protocol. Currently Google, Yahoo, Microsoft MSN Search, Ask, IBM and possibly more supports XML sitemaps. It is likely that more search engines will implement support for XML sitemaps.

The protocol of XML sitemaps also defines auto discovery, i.e. how search engines can automatically discover website xml sitemaps. The answer is linking to the XML sitemap, e.g. sitemap.xml, from robots.txt.

Linking to the XML sitemap:

User-agent: *
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

Instead of just pointing to one XML sitemap file for auto discovery, you can list multiple sitemaps:

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap-1.xml
Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap-2.xml

Or point to XML sitemap index file:

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap-index.xml

Code example of XML sitemap:

?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?
urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
loc http://www.microsystools.com/ loc
priority 1.0 priority
changefreq weekly changefreq
lastmod 2007-06-18 lastmod
loc http://www.microsystools.com/blogs/ loc
priority 0.8 priority
changefreq weekly changefreq
lastmod 2007-06-21 lastmod

RSS feeds as sitemaps

The RSS (Really Simple Syndication) protocol is often used in feed files for blog, forums etc. The RSS file format uses XML and has evolved over multiple versions and names, all fairly compatible with each other:
• Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
• RDF (Resources Description Framework) Site Summary (RSS 1.0 and RSS 0.90)
• Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)
After Google and Yahoo adopted RSS feeds as a kind of website sitemaps, more search engines have followed

Code example of RSS sitemap:

?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?
rss version="2.0"
title Website title title
link http://www.example.com link
generator A1 Sitemap Generator generator
lastBuildDate Tue, 13 Mar 2007 22:28:20 GMT lastBuildDate
title Page 1 title
link http://www.example.com/page1.html link
title Page 2 title
link http://www.example.com/page2.html link

(Note: In the tag above arrow mark is not used, please consider the same anyway hope I have done well to make it readable.)


  1. Web page creation is no child’s play. Sitemaps can be created either in XML or HTML. These two types of sitemap are created for two different purposes – XML: reaches out to the search engine spiders, and HTML sitemaps are meant for users. An XML sitemap allows web crawlers to easily navigate and access top and deep level links throughout your site. In the case of new websites, an XML sitemap acts as a ‘lighthouse’ for search engines, enabling them to ’see’ the site and index your site much more quickly and thoroughly than simply waiting for the crawlers to find the site on their own, with no map. Visit SEO Company for more information.

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  3. What about image and video maps?

  4. Nice Article, both sitemaps, i.e for users and crawler have their own importance, and its recommended to use both of them, Sitemap for user helps the visitors to find the section which they wants easily, whereas the sitemap or crawler tell the spider to Crawl all the URL's included in sitemap, which again is very important..


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