Have you ever wondered how important and helpful road maps are? On visiting a new place, it is quite natural to get lost and in such situations road map helps us in finding our ways. When it comes to virtual world, just like road maps, website maps prove to be a very useful tool. This tool in particular helps every user with easy navigation. Not only the person who is visiting your website can benefit from it, it also helps search engines in locating the desired information on your website. Precisely, sitemap is a separate page on your website which includes and displays all information regarding links within your website. Also, it is organized according to the pages, which obviously makes navigation and finding useful information much easier.
Is it really necessary?
Many people are of this idea that sitemap is not suitable and necessary for all kinds of websites. Taking this decision should not be a problem for anyone. Sitemaps can be created for all sorts of websites. However, if you have a huge website, then you should be careful before implementing sitemaps. Huge websites are already very complicated and by adding more pages, features will only complicate it further for the visitor and for search engines as well. Sitemaps are supposed to simplify things and make them easier by providing a precise overview of the website so that both search engines and users can find what they are looking for easily.
Sitemap will have no direct impact on the ranking and traffic of your website. Since it makes easy for search engines to locate the content, your website will be properly indexed because of that, which is exactly why it will increase your ranking indirectly. It also makes sure that each page of your website contains minimum one domestic link which is obviously an important element of SEO.
HTML vs. XML sitemaps:
If you are slightly aware of sitemaps, you must have heard people suggesting you to go for either HTML sitemaps or SML Sitemaps. If you do not know the difference between them, keep reading.
In order to put it simple and less confusing, HTML sitemap is simple a separate HTML page on your website which includes links to each and every page on your website. This page is easily accessible to anyone and everyone who is visiting your website. Placement of this page’s link totally depends on your choice however; mostly people prefer to keep it in the footer area. HTML sitemap is designed for humans and just in case someone gets lost in your website, this sitemap will help in getting back to the main menu of your website.
Although, sitemaps are still popular they are not very common these days. In general, website navigation has improved so much in previously few years that having a sitemap is no longer really important. It is indeed true that websites these days are pretty much self explanatory however, including a sitemap won’t hurt anyone. It will only do well to you and your website.
Search Engines and XML Sitemaps:
Now, here is the main difference between HTML and XML sitemaps. HTML sitemaps, as mentioned earlier, are specially designed to fulfill human needs however, XML sitemaps are specially designed for search engine crawlers. It helps in indexing of your website pages hence, improving your website ranking indirectly and unintentionally. Reviewing website via XML website is any important task of any search engine and by any, I actually mean the most famous search engines such as Google, yahoo. If you have a good XML sitemap designed, search engines will be able to learn about your site’s size, site’s activity and other important modifications/information. This helps search engines in determining the important pages on your website.
Advantages of Sitemaps:
Let us take a look at few other advantages of sitemaps:
- It helps out in figuring out the entire theme of website easily.
- It helps the website owner to keep the entire website organized and can also determine if any changes are required just by looking at the sitemap instead of checking every single page.
- It also provides an alternate for any broken links in your website. Now, this does not mean that you shouldn’t fix them. But for the time being, it can make things work.
There is no doubt about it that your website can survive without a sitemap as well however, having a sitemap takes off a lot of burden from your shoulders. We all know that things get a lot easier when we keep them organized and this is exactly what sitemap does. Generating a sitemap is not a big deal as many tools are available online for this purpose. Initially, you will face some difficulties but slowly and gradually you will learn the process and things will get easier for you. Although sitemaps are not very common these days but they are still highly recommended for your own, users’ and search engine crawlers’ convenience. If you are a webmaster, you should go for it. You will not regret your decision.