Sitemaps inform search engines which pages on a website should be crawled, and may help search engines discover and index those pages.

While sitemaps can be a simple text file listing the URLs of all of the pages you’d like to have indexed, they can also be an XML document carrying more information.

Are Sitemaps Required?

No, your ecommerce site doesn’t require a sitemap. That is the short answer. If your site is well built, with a navigable hierarchy and proper links, search engine crawlers should be able to discover your pages and index them.

There are several cases where Google and other search engines do, however, recommend a sitemap. For example, a sitemap can aid discovery on a large website with many pages. It can help a site with lots of content pages connected by only a few links, such as product detail pages. And a sitemap can help a new site that may not have many inbound links.

As Google explained, “Using a sitemap doesn’t guarantee that all the items in your sitemap will be crawled and indexed, as Google processes rely on complex algorithms to schedule crawling. However, in most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you’ll never be penalized for having one.”

Automatically Generated

A good ecommerce platform or content management system will typically generate a sitemap automatically. What’s more, with a little help from a developer you can define how those sitemaps are created.

If your ecommerce platform doesn’t do it, there are also third-party sitemap generators or sitemap generation code libraries.

In short, you should not have to create a sitemap manually for your ecommerce business. Nonetheless, understanding how sitemap markup works and what it communicates may help your company’s search engine optimization efforts.

An XML sitemap can help search engines discover and index pages on your ecommerce site.

XML Sitemap Format

XML sitemaps are the most popular format for…