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.
This article covers the following topics:
Creating a sitemap
The sitemap you generate must follow Google's sitemap guidelines. The standard way to build a sitemap is to create an XML file, with the help of a sitemap generator. The sitemap generator crawls and indexes the pages on your website. An example sitemap generator is xml-sitemaps.com, but you can find a list of more options here.
- Enter the URL of your Help Center in your sitemap generator and click Start.
- When your sitemap is generated, save the sitemap XML file locally.
Saving your sitemap in Help Center
Next you'll need to save the sitemap 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 sitemap 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 sitemap 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 sitemap 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 sitemap to Google Search Console
To submit sitemaps 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 sitemap
- In Google Search Console, open the Sitemaps report and select your website.
- In the left side bar, click Sitemaps.
- Under Add a new sitemap, enter the URL of the sitemap XML file you saved in Help Center.
Your link should look like this example:
- Click Submit.
Your sitemap setup is complete.
Scheduling weekly sitemap updates
Plan to create a new sitemap every week, or every time that you publish new content in your Help Center. If you regularly update your sitemap, Google and other search indexes will always be up-to-date.