I've been doing SEO for 15 years and its always changing. One thing that never changes is that often the tools you find to "make your life easier" are built in a way that is too complex for small to medium sized businesses OR the tool doesnt have the flexibility you need. One area where this has come into play is generating an XML sitemap for Google. Which is why I had someone on my team build this simple XML sitemap generator for excel.
First, you have to realize that an XML sitemap is completely optional. Many sites will see little or no benefit from adding one. In particular, small sites with a well done SEO navigation and hierarchy often don't require an XML sitemap. With that said, submitting an XML sitemap with your custom priority and change frequency values is a solid SEO technique that sends the right signal to Google and Bing about your website. So while they are not necessary, an XML sitemap is a technique that we at PIC handle for our clients.
Next, if your website is using a content management system (CMS) such as Wordpress, Drupal or Joomla, then you should be able to generate an XML sitemap with a simple plugin solution. I say should because we've seen some custom builds of these sites where the XML sitemap generator plugins didn't fill the needs of our clients. So if you are running a CMS, I would encourage you to look there first. That is the best way to keep your XML sitemap updated and accurate.
Our Free XML Sitemap Generator Spreadsheet
If you are still here, then you are determined to get an XML sitemap created and uploaded in a simple way. Hopefully this spreadsheet works for you. Simply download the excel file and follow the instructions in the tab. If you have questions, e-mail us. Then if this helps you out, please send a tweet to @piconsulting or post a link to this XML sitemap tool to help others out.
Easy Ways to Select URLs for your XML Sitemap:
- Use Google Analytics and download your URLs from Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report
- Run a crawl tool such as Xenu's link sleuth
- Make one of your interns or employees click on all the URLs on your site and paste them into the spreadsheet