the last few days I have been helping my clients submit their sitemaps to
Google, Yahoo and MSN to inform search engines to crawl through their websites.
What I have noticed is that sitemap submission is a much faster way for
websites to be found in search engines rather than using the search engine
submission tool provided. After speaking to a few people and my clients I have
noticed that people are not aware of this process because it is not shared. I
personally think that it does help and is a must do for any Internet business
as part of their search engine optimisation strategy.
What Is A Sitemap?
I want to share with you the two types of
Sitemaps. For the more technical terminology and detailed definition please
read Google’s About Sitemap.
Sitemap For Your Website
This is what Wikipedia defines the term Sitemap as:
A site map (or
sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to crawlers or users. It
can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for web design, or
a web page that lists the pages on a web site, typically organized in
hierarchical fashion. This helps visitors and search engine bots find pages on
a sitemap for your website will help any visitor browse through all sections at
just one page, rather than clicking through to different parts of the website.
You can see my sitemap and get an idea of what it looks like.
Sitemap For Search Engines
There is a term that web developers refer to when creating sitemaps and it is
called XML Sitemaps. Google introduced this term and it helps web developers
publish lists of links from across their sites. Basically it is a simple
version for search engines to use when they are crawling through any website.
Currently Google, MSN, Yahoo and Ask now jointly support this. You can view my
Sitemap XML to see how it looks like. Since MSN, Yahoo, Ask, and Google use the
XML Sitemap, it is wise to have one on your website in your parent directory. Though,
the search engines do not guarantee all links will be crawled, and being
crawled does not guarantee being indexed, it is still the best insurance for
getting a search engine to find your website. Also, XML sitemaps have replaced
the older method of “submitting to search engines” by filling out a form on the
search engine’s submission page. Most web developers submit a sitemap directly,
or wait for search engines to find it.
The Importance of a Sitemap
A sitemap literally acts as a map of your site. If your visitors browses your
site and gets lost between the thousands of pages on your site, they can always
refer to your sitemap to see where they are, and navigate through your pages
with the utmost ease.
Having a Consistent Site Theme
When your visitors load up your sitemap, they will get the gist of your site
within a very short amount of time. There is no need to get the “big picture”
of your site by reading through each page, and by doing that you will be saving
your visitors’ time.
Search Engine Optimisation
When you create a sitemap, you are actually creating a single page which
contains links to every single page on your site. Imagine what happens when
search engine robots hit this page — they will follow the links on the sitemap and
naturally every single page of your site gets indexed by search engines! It is
also for this purpose that a link to the sitemap has to be placed prominently
on the front page of your website.
Organisation 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.
This is why it is most important to
implement a sitemap for website projects with a considerable size. Through this
way, you will be able to keep your website easily accessible and neatly
organised for everyone who uses your website.
For further information about sitemaps,