What is the difference between an XML and HTML sitemap?
The XML sitemap is located here: domain/sitemap.xml - this URL is what you will need to submit to Google Console. It’s made up of code and used so Google can quickly crawl the website to see what pages are available. The HTML sitemap is a page which displays the links from the XML in a user friendly way.
Why is it taking so long for my sitemap to generate?
If you have a large amount of links on your store it can take up to 24 hours to generate your sitemap page.
How a HTML sitemap could help improve your stores user experience?
A HTML sitemap is a clear version of your XML sitemap. It allows you to group and list all of the live URL's on your website and present them neatly on a page. This page can then be used by customers to quickly find what they are looking for.
For example, a customer might have seen a particular blog post from a long time ago and the best way to find this will be visiting the sitemap and searching the page titles. Rather than going through the blog itself.
Does a HTML sitemap have any SEO benefit to my Shopify store?
There's so many different things you could do to your website to keep the SEO gods happy. Some of them have a higher importance and have a big impact, and some will bring very minor gains. A HTML sitemap would probably fall within the latter of the two. However, you should be doing all you can to optimise that site which means ticking off the high impact and lower impact best practices.
Search engines reward sites that are easy to use, so a HTML sitemap will definitely help to improve the user experience on the store.