What is a sitemap? The Sitemaps protocol allows a webmaster to inform search engines about URLs on a website that are available for crawling. A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs of the site. This allows search engines to crawl the site more efficiently and to find URLs that may be isolated from the rest of the site’s content. The Sitemaps protocol is a URL inclusion protocol and complements robots.txt, a URL exclusion protocol.
However, there are actually two types of Sitemaps; one is XML (EXtensible Markup Language) which is primarily used by search engines, and one that is in HTML and CSS that the end-user (website visitor) will use. A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, photos, videos, audio files, and other files on your website, and how those pages relate to the other pages and elements of your website.
Search Engines will use a sitemap as a roadmap and it helps them better find your pages. This is where the XML version comes into play. For the end-user, you are using the same content, but you are dressing that content up to match the look and feel of your website. Every single page of your website should be listed on your sitemap.
Your sitemap will tell search engines the location of a page on your website when it was last updated, the updating frequency, and the importance of the page as it is related to other pages on your site. A sitemap alone does not give you an SEO boost, but the more pages you have indexed the better and that will get you a boost.
If you are using an SEO plug-in for WordPress (like Yoast SEO or All In One SEO (AIOSEO), (They are two of my favorites), then it likely already has a Site Map generator built-in, but it does not, “GoogleXML Sitemaps” is one of the better ones out there, and with a few clicks of the mouse button, you have an XML sitemap that is now part of your website.
Note that none of the aforementioned sitemap generation tools will generate an end-user readable sitemap (well, not true, All In One SEO Pack has it enabled in some versions). To make a human-readable or visual sitemap, I recommend Simple Sitemap which is a little plug-in that will generate the sitemap for you.