A sitemap is a part of your website that lists all your pages, all divided into appropriate sections. If it’s accessible to anyone visiting the site, a sitemap can be a quick way for someone to get a feel for a website and find whatever it is they’re looking for. It stops the visitors from getting lost, and can give a visitor a good feel for the site’s theme and style. However, this isn’t necessary for all websites. In fact, many sitemaps are keep hidden from viewers, instead visible only to the owners and search engines. That’s because a sitemap’s main use isn’t to get it read by people… but by spiders.
Search engine “spiders” or “web crawlers” are what search engines send hunting through the Net, deciding which websites should be ranked the highest in the search engine they work for, be it Google, Bing, or someone else. The crawlers can get their information from numerous aspects of a site, but they have a lot of them to crawl through. The more help you can give web crawlers, the better the information they can collect, which means the more search engine optimized your website will become.
What information can your sitemap provide these web crawlers?
- Which pages are new and updated. In fact, a sitemap can automatically update the crawlers whenever you add something new.
- Which pages on your site are most important to crawl through. Crawlers often find things based on the number of links to a page, and so having a master list of internal links can really help the bots.
- Information about various media, such as videos or images. Crawlers can view these, so they have a hard time analyzing them.
If you want your website to be properly optimized for search engines, feature a strong sitemap to attract the web spiders and send them in the right direction. You can do the job yourself if you’re up to it, or call on a web expert such as Internet Exposure, but make sure it gets done.
Arvind Raichur, Sonic SEO. “4 Reasons Why You Need A Site Map.”
Carolina, CC Marketing Online. “What Is A Sitemap and Why Do I Need One?”
Google Support, Google. “Learn About Sitemaps.”