There are many benefits and practically no disadvantages when having an HTML sitemap on your website. Big banks and eCommerce sites like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Macy’s, and Home Depot, have an HTML sitemap on their website, so why not you?
There are two types of Sitemap for a website, the XML Sitemap, which helps search engines to discover pages on our site, and the other Sitemap is the HTML Sitemap, which is helpful for site visitors who can’t find what they are looking for on the dropdown menus or on the search function of your site. Now, if you have been in the blogging and SEO world for a while, you know that there was a huge debate as to is it necessary to have a HTML Sitemap on the site. And honestly, there is no right or wrong answer. But the important thing is, there are more benefits and no negative effects when adding an HTML Sitemap to your site. So, why not just add it?
Google already said that they encourage it as well. I’ll give you a great example. Let’s say that you own a bank. Wow! Rich huh! And you’re providing a lot of different services such as auto lending, personal banking, digital banking, student loans, military banking, investments and many others. It will be so much easier for any customers to find all your services on the sitemap, if they can’t find it through the menus and search functions. This HTML Sitemap is from JPMorgan by the way. If you visit other banks like, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs, you will see a HTML Sitemap as well. You see, big banks are already using a HTML Sitemap because they know the benefits for their customers. So why shouldn’t you?
add a HTML Sitemap on your site in a few simple steps
Maybe if your site is an informational site, like a review site, where people visit your site through search and they leave to somewhere else. In that case, you won’t find much value for a HTML Sitemap. But if you are an ecommerce store or service based website that continues to grow your product base, it just makes sense to have a HTML Sitemap because people are constantly searching for stuff on your site and the presence of it will help. And that’s why in this video, we’re going to show you how to add a HTML Sitemap on your site in a few simple steps. Let’s go. Hey, it’s Jack from Rank Math, the one WordPress SEO plugin that constantly strives to provide you with the most cutting-edge SEO tools. And on this channel, we are all about sharing accurate and up-to-date SEO knowledge.
So if you’re new to our channel, consider subscribing. Anyway, if you currently have a single-use plugin for the HTML Sitemap, you now have the option to reduce that plugin if you are a Rank Math user, and that applies to you too, if you only have the free version of Rank Math installed. You see, we are truly the Swiss Army knife of SEO. And if you have any SEO features you would like to see on Rank Math, feel free to leave a comment down below. Now let’s go into adding a HTML Sitemap on your site. The prerequisite you need is the Sitemap module to be turned on. Then go to your Sitemap settings and you will see the HTML Sitemap module here. Let’s enable the HTML Sitemap. And now, you can choose the display format. You can either embed the Shortcode which is right here, on any pages, which is really helpful if you intend to design your HTML Sitemap page. If you choose this option, then all you need to do is to copy the shortcode, save changes, create a new page. Let’s name this as “HTML Sitemap” and paste the Shortcode here. Publish the page. And now, you will have a HTML Sitemap page. And all you need to do next is to place the page URL of your HTML Sitemap on your menu or footer. Now, if we choose the other option, this means that you want to use an existing page as your HTML Sitemap page. I’ve created a page called “Sitemap”.
So let’s search for it. And here we go. As we save changes, let’s check this out. You see, this was the page we have selected for the HTML Sitemap. Previously it was blank and now, let’s refresh it. And here we go. Here is your HTML Sitemap. Now, you can still make changes to this page. For example, let’s add a sentence “This is a HTML sitemap”. As we update this page, visit it, here’s what you have added.
So whatever that you add on your page will appear right above the HTML Sitemap links. If you want total control on where to display the Sitemap, then use the Shortcode method. Next, you can sort the page links by “Publish Date”, “Modified Date”, “Alphabetical”, or “Post ID”. And you can choose to “Show Dates” which as you can see, these are the “Published Date” of your post. If you wish to hide the dates, save changes and refresh the page, you will see all the dates gone. You have total control. Next, you can display either the “Item Titles” or the “SEO Titles”. For now, we are using the “SEO Titles” which are the text that you add when you click on this “Edit Snippet”. Right here. Remember this sentence because it will change as we select the “Item Titles”. As you can see for this post, it’s called “Work with an Advisor”. Let’s head back to the Sitemap. We have selected the Item Titles”. Let’s save changes, refresh it. And now you will see all the text have changed. Now,
what if you want to hide either one of the post types?
Like for example, I want to hide the Products type because it is not relevant. Now, on your Sitemap settings once again, let’s say that I want to hide the Products Post type as we have mentioned. So, on the “Products” Post type, we see that this post type is included in the HTML Sitemap. And if you don’t want to display it, simply turn it off and save settings. And now if we visit the HTML Sitemap page again and refresh it. You will see the Product Post type gone. So, for every post type, like the “Post”, “Pages”, “Attachments”, “Products”, “Services”, which is a Custom Post Type (CPT) I’ve added, you will see this option to include or exclude from the HTML Sitemap.
The same goes for the “Taxonomies” as well, such as the “Categories”, “Tags”, “Product Categories” and “Product Tags”. Now, it really depends on your “Author settings”, but if you don’t see the “Author” post type on the Sitemap settings, like this example, here’s what you can do. Go to the “Titles and Meta”, go to “Authors” and make sure that the “Author Archives” are enabled. Then, you want to ensure that this “Author Robots Meta” is toggled on so that you can turn the “Author Robots Meta” to “Index”. Save changes. Now let’s head back to the Sitemap settings and you’ll see the “Authors” post type here. Make sure that this is toggled on so that the Authors will be included in the HTML Sitemap. Save changes, if you have amended anything. Visit the HTML sitemap again, refresh it, and you will see the “Authors”. Now let’s answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). The first is, “What if you have used the All-in-One SEO’s HTML sitemap feature, would it still work if you migrate to Rank Math?”
Yes, it will still work. Let me show you how. You see, All in One SEO is currently installed on this site. And this is the HTML Sitemap page where it uses the shortcode from All-in-One SEO. Let’s now migrate the site to Rank Math. You can see that All-in-One SEO is now deactivated. Let’s go to the HTML Sitemap page and refresh it. It still works! So, if you’re worried that your existing HTML Sitemap will not work, don’t worry! Rank Math will migrate all the information so you don’t need to lift a finger and don’t need to worry about the technical stuff. Alright, next question, “should you submit the HTML Sitemap to Google Search console?”
No, because Search Console expects XML Sitemap and not HTML Sitemap. But you can get your HTML Sitemap page indexed. You can either wait for Google Robots to visit your site and crawl your HTML Sitemap page, or another faster method is using our “Instant Indexing” Tool. I’m not going to go through the details on how to set it up because we have a dedicated post for it right here.
You can check it out in the description. But, what it does is that the URLs you have entered here will be crawled by Google instantly. So, if you haven’t been using a HTML Sitemap, do consider using it, because there are a lot more perks than there are any negative effects. In fact, there are no negatives. Even Google encourages that. And if you are using a single-use plugin just for the HTML Sitemap feature, you can now substitute that with Rank Math’s feature. This reduces your plugin count by one and may help improve your site speed, at least a little. Anyway, if you haven’t subscribed to our channel yet, do consider doing so, because we are constantly on the lookout for SEO insights and knowledge. And we are constantly upgrading our plugin to provide you with the most cutting-edge SEO tool, like the one we just shared. And we share everything we know on this channel. Don’t forget to smash that thumbs up button if you find this video helpful. And if you want to share your thoughts or have any suggestions for us, do let us know in the comments. We are always listening. This is Jack from Rank Math.
Rank Math, the Swiss Army Knife of WordPress SEO, can take your SEO game to the next level. Rank Math already goes above and beyond other top-rated SEO plugins. Do you want to see the magic unfold for your website?
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