As the name implies a sitemap literally acts as a map of your website. Unless your website is massive and includes thousands of pages a sitemap is usually a single page that contains links to each individual page on your website.
There are several options available when it comes to creating a site map for your website. Including manually creating the page yourself or using a sitemap generator like the ones found at: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com
There are also different types of site maps that can be created including:
– XML sitemap that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better.
– A text sitemap that displays a plain list of all your pages.
– An ROR sitemap, which is an independent XML format used by multiple search engines.
– An HTML sitemap specifically designed to help visitors to easily navigate on your site
Which ever type of site map you decide to use it’s a good idea to include a link to it on your front page as well as the main pages this will help ensure easy access for not only your visitors, but the search engines as well.
Let’s go over a few reasons why a sitemap is important to the success of your web design:
1 – Optimization
Sitemaps are very important when it comes to search engine optimization. Imagine what happens when search engine robots visit your sitemap. They will follow the links on the sitemap and naturally index every single page of your site.
2 – Navigation
If your visitors browses your site and can’t find what they’re looking for from the main pages on your site, they will often refer to your sitemap. You may be surprised to learn that many Internet users will go to your sitemap first and navigate through your pages from there.
3 – Organization and relevance
A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s eye view of your site structure, and whenever you need to add new content or new sections, you will be able to take the existing hierarchy into consideration just by glancing at the sitemap. As a result, you will have a perfectly organised site with everything sorted according to their relevance.
Once you have created your sitemap you’ll want to take some time and submit it to search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. This will encourage the search engines to send out robots, often referred to crawlers, which are powerful programs used to catalog and index your webpages for inclusion in their directories. Read more…