There are many different aspects to creating a website design with a goal of bringing in more traffic, making the creation of a sitemap a good feature to include in your website design. An html sitemap can help visitors find specific information, but if you’re looking to increase your search engine optimization (or at least get all of your pages indexed) then creating a XML sitemap is one important step that should not be overlooked.
What Exactly is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is essentially a table of contents for your website and provides an overview of all the pages within your website. Sitemaps can be organized in a few different ways, with the most popular taking the form of an outline that lists your pages of contact according to topic.
An HTML sitemap is for your visitors and should be linked to from your website but a XML sitemap should be submitted to search engines so they know it’s there and can therefore crawl through your website in a much more detailed and efficient manner. This allows them to discover everything in your website via one never-to-be-underrated source.
Types of Sitemaps
There are 3 different types of sitemaps – HTML sitemap, XML Sitemap, and a Video sitemap.
HTML Sitemap. Created in the standard HTML format, this is a good choice for those who want to create a sitemap to help their visitors and search engines alike. Very user-friendly so a person can easily find information on your site, and is a good choice to help search engines crawl content. This is basically a web page that displays links to every page on your site.
XML Sitemap. Since the XML sitemap lists every url on your site, using this format can increase the chances of your website getting more pages on your website indexed. This is especially good for blogs and sites that have been around for a long time and may find that it takes many clicks to get to that blog post you wrote in 2005. Not considered user-friendly as it is only used for search engines.
Video Sitemap. Only used for videos and shows the page where the video is embedded and details about the video. This is a critical part to video SEO but there are many stumbling blocks when it comes to creating the video sitemap.
How do I Make a Sitemap?
Although many people find that they don’t need to use a sitemap when they visit a well-designed website, it is still a good idea to incorporate one into your website. This way it is not only there if and/or when users need to find a particular page, again-the addition of a sitemap allows search engines to crawl through the site, which can help when it comes to increasing your rankings and indexed pages.
Make My Own
If you want to make your own sitemap, simply write down your sitemap as you want it to appear on your website, and then use this as a template for embedding your links on a page for a HTML sitemap. Although the XML and video sitemaps are more complex, you can do research at Google to find out the format and create them yourself.
Need Some Help
Know that there are many ways to make a sitemap with just as many tools available to assist you. A few choices include:
www.xml-sitemaps.com – create html and xml
Sitemaps.org – standard for xml sitemaps
Video Sitemap Generator – coming in June of 2011
There are also various WordPress plugins that you can find at WordPress.org
Good To Know
- You can track how often your sitemaps are crawled by submitting them to Google Webmaster Tools.
- If you don’t have a system that regularly updates your sitemap, make sure you do it on a regular basis.