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Sitemap For Site With Few Dynamic HTML Files And Many Possible URLs

- 1 answer

I'm nearing the end of my first web development project and I'm looking to build a sitemap for our website as part of Search Engine Optimalisation. If I understand correctly a sitemap, when done correctly, is a file that shows a content tree (similar to paths in windows explorer) to all the public pages of my website.

For the purpose of my question you're going to need some background information on the site and how it works. The site is about bird migration, a user enters the site on a homepage that holds a searchbox, he or she is able to search for a species of birds and if we have data on it the user is able to go to a seperate page with information on this bird. From there the user can access statistical data about this species. The page will look something like below, filled with content that we get from a database.page example

The URL will look something like http://domain.com/searchbird.html?bird=Sedge%20Warbler?lang=1 for the informational page, and http://domain.com/statistics.html?bird=g=1 for the informational page, and http://domain.com/statistics.html?bird=Sedge%20Warbler?lang=1 for the statistical page.

Every bird species uses the same base HTML file (searchbird.html) that is filled with data based on the ?bird="" parameter. I have about four HTML files in my webroot (lets call them: index.html, searchbird.html, statistics.html, about.html).

So when I go to create a sitemap using some sort of sitemap generation tool, I get a sitemap that contains those 4 .html files, which is great! Yet I'm missing the 500 bird species that users are going to be able to find.

Is there a way for me to include every possible URL in the sitemap automatically, and how would I go about doing such a thing? I've used HTML, CSS and Javascript in the past. but I'm only a beginner. If an executable tool exists for this that'd be great, but my Google searches haven't been successful yet.

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Answer

You have to generate the list of URLs for your existing pages.

So dig into your data source (database or whatever you use), find all existing bird species, and generate the two URLs per species.

Directory for users/bots

It would probably be a good idea (for visitors as well as for bots) to output these links on your website, too. Visitors would have two ways to find a species (search for it or browse the directory), and as most bots don’t use search functions, they wouldn’t be able to find the links on your site otherwise (they would have to use your sitemap, which not all bots do, or they would have to hope to find the links from some other external website).

(If you do this, you could also use a sitemap generator service; but it’s usually better do generate it yourself.)

URL design

By the way, you might want to consider changing your URL design to a more human-friendly one. Instead of

http://example.com/searchbird.html?bird=Sedge%20Warbler?lang=1

http://example.com/statistics.html?bird=Sedge%20Warbler?lang=1

you could use something like

http://example.com/en/birds/sedge-warbler

http://example.com/en/birds/sedge-warbler/statistics

where en is the language code for "English" (these are standardized, and users have a chance to understand them, contrary to lang=1), and where http://example.com/en/birds could lead to the page listing all species. For other languages, you would of course ideally translate "birds" and "statistics".

Changing the URL design is possible with URL rewriting.

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source: stackoverflow.com
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