The internet has brought a new dimension to advertiseing, along with the need to learn more about search engine optimization techniques. Including a sitemap in your site is one of these techniques.
Copyright 2006 Donovan BaldwinTo understand the value of a sitemap on your website, it may be of benefit to place internet marketing and advertising in perspective.Before the advent of the Internet; before there were Internet businesses and Internet marketing, the main means of getting your message before the public was by several standard advertising venues. First was newspapers, then came radio, and then there was television. For each of these mediums, the techniques became stylized and solidified. Each learned what worked best for its particular means of expression and target market.Then, along came the Internet:Whether an internet business however, or a more traditional business, the goal has remained the same...get the message to the consumer.Once all the high-tech trappings have been stripped away, that single goal remains the focus of internet marketing just as in the older, less technical settings.Another thing which has NOT changed is the advertisement itself. The best advertisements offer a solution to a problem the reader might have. They are clear and concise. They make sense, or perhaps they amuse. The message can be approached from several different angles, and the writing of advertising copy is an entire field in its own right.The same applies to the headline. The headline is the hook, which when properly crafted, gives just enough information to pique the curiosity of the reader while creating the image of the answer to the problem of the moment lurking just a little further into the copy text itself. Entire books have been written just on the subject of writing the right headline.While the arts of writing good advertising copy and alluring headlines is still much the same, the means of getting the advertisement into the hands of the reader, or onto the screen of the reader's computer, has changed.A newspaper was delivered to the door, or was hawked on a street corner. The reader might buy to read news and see information about a new car sale...or they might buy the newspaper to find out what cars were on sale. In any case, newspapers were easy to get hold of, and everybody knew how to find the classifieds or the obituaries, depending on their interests. Since a newspaper tended to be regional in nature, someone in San Francisco did not have to worry about whether or not the car in the ad was in New York or Boston.Radio and television followed in the newspaper's footsteps, and much the same was true of them as has been said about newspapers.The Internet has changed a lot about advertising:First, the product offered by an internet business is not necessarily regional any more. Someone in San Francisco CAN buy a car that is located in New York or Boston.Second, people from all over the earth can now create an online business and sell many of their products and services all over the world.This means there are millions, perhaps billions of people trying to sell or buy on the internet at any given time. Each has their own major advertisement posted online, and this advertisement is called their website.No longer is it sufficient to just have good advertising copy, a good headline, and to place the advertisement in the local paper or TV station. Not only must the website/advertisement meet all the requisite criteria for success, but now the advertiser must figure out how to get THEIR advertisement read.Anybody with a computer can put up a website, but to get people to visit that website, and perhaps make a purchase, requires more. There are literally thousands or even millions of websites offering the same thing that you offer. In order to make your website stand out, one thing you can do is use the techniques of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).Search engines are important to an internet business because it has been estimated that about 85% of website visitors arrive through a search engine listing. Performing some sort of search engine optimization to a website will enable search engines to more efficiently find, index, rank, and present all the websites floating in the vast sea called "Internet".There are many possible techniques involved in search engine optimization, such as proper use of meta tags, use of valuable content laden with keywords, and linking from relevant sites to name a few. One other technique is the use of a sitemap. The more pages your site has, the more important a sitemap becomes.In its simplest form, a sitemap is a listing, or catalog, of all the pages on a site, together with their links. A link to the sitemap should be placed on the index page at a minimum. A sitemap may be simple links, or may be a description of the page with the link.Commonly, there are two particular types of sitemaps, although others may be used. The XML structure is really directed at search engines. It is a series of clues to search engines such as Google as to the structure of the site. The search engine's spider will then follow the links on the sitemap, gathering data about each page in its normal manner. A sitemap laid out in HTML format tends to be more for the sake of humans and often contains descriptive text in addition to the links. For these reasons, you may encounter sites that contain both types of sitemaps.A well-constructed sitemap serves two purposes:1. It allows a visitor to look at the entire layout of the site and perhaps more rapidly find the page that addresses his or her concerns.2. It allows search engine spiders to more rapidly and completely access, index, and evaluate all the pages of the site. This can contribute to a higher site ranking in some cases, and, at the least, provides more possible pages to lead the visitor to the site.While a sitemap can be constructed using basic html, there are free sitemap builders or generators available. These can be found simply by performing a search under one of those terms.
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer and network marketing professional. He is a University of West Florida alumnus, a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. Get the domain name you want at http://www.donovanbaldwin.com/domain/get_name.html