Let’s Take a Look at the Free Online Sitemap Generators
There are many scripts that can be uploaded to a web server and configured to automatically rebuild a sitemap and submit it to various search engines. Unfortunately, and they are incredibly awkward to set up and configure; plus, for security reasons, many of them will only map a website that is on the domain where the script is being used. That restriction prohibits them from being used to create sitemaps for remote sites.
A better option is to use free online sitemap generators.
Online sitemap generators work, are not limited to one website, don’t care whether you own the site being mapped and they can be used frequently. There is one catch: most limit their free maps to either 500, 1000 or 5000 URLs and only map URLs that can be reached from the root (index) page of a website. The ones I use are no exception:
- xml-sitemaps.com will generate a well formatted xml sitemap of up to 500 URLs,
- sitemaps-builder.com generates a map with up to 1,000 URLs, and
- PC Time Limit builds sitemaps of upto 5,000 links.
Those three sitemap generators are more than enough for most sites but what if you have a co-brand, white label or hand-crafted website that updates daily and has hundreds of thousands of pages that must be indexed? How might all those lovely URLs be added to your sitemap?
Think about this:
A list of the most recent URLs is created when you generate a sitemap. When a new web page is created a new URL is created which must be added to that map. If you start out with 1,000 URLs and add 10 new URLs every day then over 20 days another 200 URLs must be mapped. If a sitemap generator maps only the first 1000 URLs it encounters from a website’s index page and there are 1200 URLs to index then 200 URLs will be missed out of the map. An incomplete map is bad news. An incomplete map could result in a site being poorly indexed by search engines.
Is there a way to coax the online generators to create a bigger sitemap?
Fortunately, sitemap generators do not check the size of a current sitemap and cannot determine whether a sitemap is made up from the contents of multiple sitemaps that have been generated by free sitmap generators. This failing can be turned to our advantage: we can use the same free tools to create daily or weekly sitemaps then combine their results to build one super sitemap. We can then force the generator to map different parts of a website by putting links to those parts on the website’s index page. For best results, one of those links should point to an artificial linklist that points to the sections of the site that need to be mapped; but, we must be careful not to duplicate data lines!