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What Is Sitemap?

Simply put, an eCommerce sitemap is a map of your online store’s content. Google explains it as a file where you give all the details about your website’s pages, images, videos, and other files and the connection between them, to help search engines crawl your website more efficiently.

Sitemap General Guidelines

Some of the most important eCommerce sitemap guidelines are the following:

  • Use consistent and only canonical URLs.
  • Split up larger sitemaps into smaller ones.
  • In case you have different URLs for page desktop and mobile versions, it’s better to point out only one of them in your sitemap for the eCommerce website.
  • Use extensions if you want to indicate extra media types such as images or videos.
  • The extensive set of sitemap guidelines can be found in Google Search Central.

How To Create Sitemap For eCommerce Website

  • Analyze your eCommerce website structure: start by mapping out the structure of your website. Take note of all the pages and subcategories that will be listed on the sitemap.
  • Gather page data: make sure you have a URL, a title, and a brief description of what can be found on that page as this will be included in the sitemap.
  • Create an XML file that tells search engines about your website’s structure. It is also used to create its HTML version for visitors to view on the website itself.

Notice that you can either let your CMS create a sitemap for you (e.g. WordPress or Wix can generate them automatically), use a special generator (like Magento 2 Google) to do it for you (if you have more than a couple of dozen URLs) or create it manually.

eCommerce Sitemap Best Practices

Some of the best practices to increase the effectiveness of your sitemap include:

  • Prioritizing your web pages.
  • Categorizing your content correctly.
  • Using a sitemap generator and submitting a map to Google Search Console.
  • Do not insert “noindex” URLs.

Sitemap Extensions

Extensions are an added structure for certain media types within a sitemap that is hard to parse. Here are some eCommerce sitemap examples of such add-ons:

  • Video extension – it’s a sure way to guarantee that such search engines as Google can understand the video content on your site that otherwise cannot be discovered with a common Google crawling process.
  • Image Extension is an effective add-on to let Google know about other images on your eCommerce site. It can be created either as a separate sitemap or using the Image Tags to the existing one.
  • Google News is an extension for creating an independent map of the news (or new articles) section so that the recently posted articles are frequently crawled and included in the Google News index.

Sitemap FAQ

Is sitemap mandatory for eCommerce websites?

It’s not obligatory, as, in case you have a proper navigation hierarchy and correct links, search engine crawlers can discover your pages and index them without a sitemap. However, in certain cases, Google and other search engines recommend building it as it can help to better discover websites with many pages, and it can also help an eCommerce site that has many product pages that are connected by only a few links.

Is it necessary to submit a sitemap to Google?

It’s not mandatory to submit it to Google, however, it’s recommended by Google to submit it to Google Search Console to enhance the crawl ability rate of your website.

Which extensions may I possibly need for an eCommerce sitemap?

You might need a generator for your eCommerce store for creating your sitemap. After that, such extensions as Video, Image, or Google News add-ons might be built on for better crawling of these media types.

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