If you spend a great deal of time online, you have probably found the option of a sitemap helpful. The sitemap lists almost all of the content on a site, and is defined by experts as “a simple directory or guide that holds information along with other details on web pages that are contained on a website, in addition to the content on these pages.” For instance, I often use a sitemap to shortcut my search for a specific issue in a blog, but I am also often disappointed.
Why? Because not all sites provide a full sitemap. That is not wise because Google actually crawls sitemaps seeking information for crawlers to identify and use for all search queries typed into the global search engine. In other words, a sitemap can make sure that search engine indexes have all of your relevant pages available to read in addition to helping visitors find content.
Two Kinds of Sitemaps
Yet, not all sitemaps are available to the average website visitor. There are two types of sitemaps – the XML and the HTML variants. The XML are actually invisible to the end user (website visitor) and are designed specifically to inform search engine crawlers of the content on a page within the site. It also tells the crawlers how often that page is updated and how (if) pages relate to one another, and the importance of those relations.
This is because all sitemaps are designed in a logical order, a hierarchical order, with key pages at the top and less relevant at the bottom.
Relevance to SEO
Understanding these basic facts about any sort of sitemap makes it easy to see both how and why you would want them on your site. Yet, they are time-consuming to make, i.e. an investment. Yet, if you want a truly optimized site, a sitemap is a must. Without it, crawlers cannot make the most of the content and visitors don’t enjoy an easier way to find what they really want. In the end, a sitemap is just as relevant to traffic flow, your sales funnel and your marketing or advertising as everything else.
The importance of the HTML sitemap is easy to see. It sits at the footer of the homepage and lets your visitors access any page right from the first or home page. Because of this, those pages are seen by web crawlers as more relevant and their ranks increase.
The XML sitemap gives you, as the website owner, the ability to feed specific details about specific pages directly to the crawlers. You can also customize the content by priority and even ensure the most frequently updated pages are noted. Yet, it is not an easy thing to do properly.
As an example, to make the very most of an XML sitemap, you have to know all about your strongest keywords. That way, you can make content that is keyword specific to the site. Links have to paired up with strong descriptions, too. This is to ensure you get higher ranking for the site.
There are so many reasons to incorporate a strong XML sitemap, and if you don’t already have one, now is the time to add it and get your site indexed and climbing in the most relevant SERPs. At SOAP Media, clients can work with a team of experts to build all of the key components, including sitemaps, to ensure the best SEO and outcomes.