The internet has become a source for everything – from online games to groceries. You can find what you want and have it delivered to your home with a simple click. Therefore, the online market is huge. Businesses know the best way to attract this market is to have a website. However, there is a lot that goes into designing a website. One of the most crucial elements is site map.
What is a Site Map?
A sitemap is a single file that contains all the content of your webpages. It also shows how the different pages are connected through internal links. There are two types of sitemaps: Visual or HTML and XML sitemaps.
XML Site Map
You create an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl the most important webpages in your website. When creating an XML sitemap, you include URLs to the pages you want to be indexed plus the Metadata. Make sure you that you include useful content in those webpages because the crawler indexes websites based on the quality of content. Also, update your content regularly to increase the indexing frequency. Being indexed helps to improve your search engine ranking.
HTML Site Map
You create an HTML sitemap for your visitors. It’s basically a page with information about the most important pages on your site. When creating a visual site map, you include internal links to the important pages. You’ll also include the Metadata for those pages so that visitors can know what they’re all about before clicking on the link.
Where to put Your Sitemaps?
Most website host services will automatically create the XML site map for you. However, you can modify the file by removing some of the URL’s that you don’t want to be indexed.
Once you create the site map, you have to upload that file to your Google Console account if you want to be indexed on Google and Webmaster Tools if you want to be indexed on Bing. During the setup, you’ll decide how often you want the search engine to crawl your pages. Interestingly, the crawler may not crawl all your pages. Instead, they may choose the ones that are worth crawling.
The HTML sitemap is coded on your website because it acts like a normal page. Most companies use the home page as the visual site map page.
Why you should Include All Pages in the Site Map
1. Despite your best efforts, you may forget to insert an internal link. Sometimes, you may misspell the link URL, causing a broken link. Website crawlers can help you save face when a client clicks on that broken link – they can redirect the client to another page. At the same time, the crawler will send you a message informing you about the broken link.
2. A visual site map can help you increase the number of conversions. Today’s consumers want simplicity and fast checkout. The site map shows the consumer how they can achieve that.
3. By creating a site map for your website, you’re speeding up the process of getting indexed. It helps website crawlers know that your site exists, and they should pay more attention to it.
4. Sitemaps also help you understand the customer. The search engine will prepare a crawler report so that you can see how visitors are interacting with your site. The report will show you which areas to improve.
To conclude, don’t underestimate the power of sitemaps in website development and maintenance. You can use both XML and HTML sitemaps for your website. Interestingly, crawlers can read both sitemaps, but they prefer HTML because it’s easier and faster to read. Regardless, sitemaps will help to speed up the indexing process and hopefully improve your organic search efforts.