A site map is a file you can create that provides web crawlers, like Googlebot, with a list of the web pages on your site. It's not mandatory to create a site map for your Help Center, but a site map provides information about the organization of your site content, which helps Google and other search engines to more intelligently crawl your site.
If you don't have a site map, your Help Center is still indexed by search engines.
Creating a site map
The standard way to build a site map is to create an XML file, with the help of a site map generator. An example site map generator is xml-sitemaps.com, but you can find a list of more options here. The site map generator crawls and indexes the pages on your website.
- Enter the URL of your Help Center in your site map generator and click Start.
- When your site map is generated, save the site map XML file locally.
Saving your site map in Help Center
Next you'll need to save the site map XML file in your Help Center so that it can be used by Google and other search engines.
- Create a new public article in your Help Center.
- Click Add File to attach the site map XML file to the article and Publish.
Note: Don't use the drag-and-drop method to attach the XML file, because you might experience problems with the upload process.
You might want to move the article to an area in your Help Center where users are unlikely to see it, for example, the final article in a low-traffic section. Alternatively, you can move the article to Draft after you have copied and saved the URL (in step 4). Your customers won't see the article in the Help Center, but the URL can still be reached.
- Right-click your attached site map XML file and open it in a new window so that you can capture the location of the file.
- Copy and save the URL of the attached site map XML file. This URL might look something like en-us/article_attachments/900802345/sitemap.xml.
You'll need to share this URL with Google in the next steps.
Submitting your site map to Google Webmaster Tools
To submit site maps to Google, you'll perform a one-time verification of your website so that Google knows that you're the owner. Instructions are on the Google website.
To upload your site map
- On your Webmaster Tools home page, select your website.
- In the left side bar, click Crawl > Sitemaps.
- Click Add/Test Sitemap.
- A text box appears. Paste in the location of the attached site map XML file.
This is the URL that you saved earlier.
- Click Submit Sitemap.
Your link should look something like this: https://support.yourdomain.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/900802345/sitemap.xml
Your site map setup is complete.
Scheduling weekly site map updates
Plan to create a new site map every week, or every time that you publish new content in your Help Center. If you regularly update your site map, Google and other search indexes will always be up-to-date.