sitemaps
SEO

Sitemaps – SEO’s Most Underrated Power Weapon

You must be familiar with the term “Crawling” in SEO, but do you know what it means?

Well,

Crawling is a process that’s executed by search engine crawlers while looking for significant and related websites on the index.

But here’s something really interesting,

How’ll search engines find each and every web pages from your website while crawling?

Google has the perfect answer for this –

“If your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap can improve the crawling of your site.”

Now you know why having a sitemap is crucial, let’s dig a little deeper.

What Is A Sitemap?

A sitemap is a collection of links that are placed in a logical and hierarchical manner. A site’s structure can be better understood with the help of a sitemap and can be used both by the users and search bots to crawl to the right areas of a site in the context of a search query.

The sitemap is categorized into –

  • HTML Sitemaps – Written for human visitors of your site.
  • XML Sitemaps – Written for search engine bots.

Okay, let’s shed some light.

Which Sites Require Sitemaps?

According to Google, sitemaps are important for –

  • An extensive website
  • A website with lots of poorly linked contents
  • Websites containing rich media content
  • Websites that are brand-new

Moving on,

How Do Sitemaps Affect SEO?

There was a time when sitemaps were greatly overlooked by website creators and were thought to be a risk for website owners. But over time everybody began to see how they can benefit the websites.

sitemaps

As we know SEO is essential for achieving website revenue and traffic, still when it comes to searching, indexing and ranking your website’s content by a search engine, sitemaps can help.
Google gives credit to sitemaps and considers it as one of the most influential tools that have a positive effect on SEO. Sitemaps let your website to connect with search engines like – Yahoo, MSN, and Google.

As mentioned earlier, sitemaps are of two types – XML and HTML.

So,

Which Is More Beneficial – XML Or HTML Sitemap?

An HTML designed sitemap contains anchor links that indicate all the web pages of your website. This helps the human visitors of your website to land on the page they’re searching for.

We all know search engines give priority to those websites that are easily accessible.
An HTML sitemap is a perfect way to increase user experience that might improve your website’s ranking.

On the other hand, XML sitemap is written for search bots that have the following advantages:

  • It provides a path for search engines.
  • A search engine can extract your website’s information very easily, just by looking at XML files.
  • It enhances navigation and indexing processes.

Using an XML sitemap will help search engines to crawl your website easily and an HTML sitemap will increase your website’s ranking by enhancing user experience.

How To Create And Submit A Sitemap For Your Website

Now that you’ve acquainted enough knowledge on sitemaps, learn the basic steps for sitemap creation here –

  • Firstly, select those web pages of your website that you want Google to crawl.
  • Choose a canonical version of these pages.
  • Select a sitemap format (XML, RSS, mRSS, Atom 1.0, Text and Google Sites).
  • Use Search Console Sitemaps testing tools to test.
  • Lastly, add your sitemap to robots.txt file or submit it to search console, which will make your sitemap available to Google.

Closing Thoughts

Many believe that sitemaps have little significance in SEO but they’re not aware how much a website SEO can profit from having an XML or HTML sitemap. Being a power weapon if used properly can be a panacea for those SEO issues.

As rightly pointed out by Google –

“In most cases, your site will benefit from having a sitemap, and you’ll never be penalized for having one.”

So go ahead and use sitemaps to become the favorite of search engines.

written by
Arpit Poddar
Arpit Poddar Senior Content Marketing