Revamp Your Site’s Sitemap, It’s More Important Than You Think

- Maureen Dillon 01.12.2016


In addition to the host of SEO tips and tricks that you employ to optimize your site, having an up to date sitemap could do more for your site than you think. As the name implies, a site map is a visual index for your site which depicts the inner framework and structural organization of your website, e.g. the different sections, subsections, and the links between them. The sitemap aids the users and search engines in navigating the website and is a good way of letting the search engines know that your website is available and can be crawled by them.  If your website has a complicated structure, it is imperative that you revamp your sitemap to enhance optimization and enable effective communication with the search engine.

Clear Navigation for your Site 

Have you ever visited a site and poked around excruciatingly to find a pertinent page? If the navigation on your website is a little thorny, sitemap is the first place your users revert to. Many sites do not take in to account the fact that a new user would potentially be completely unaware of their product or services and go around in circles, trying to find the relevant information. 
A site without a specific goal or purpose is harder to navigate and ruin the user’s experience. The visitor is left wondering what to do when interacting with your content. Your sitemap reflects the intuitive way in which the users breeze through your site. You can use a sitemap to display every relevant page and even include a line of descriptive text to elucidate it further. This prevents a client from getting frustrated and simply bouncing off your site in the welcoming domain of your competitor.Designing a sitemap before constructing the website can clarify your website’s goals and help you map them out. Every part of your website should reinforce your goals and any page that isn’t tied to the website’s purpose should be cut off to avoid cluttering and confusion. 

Sitemaps for SEO

Your website’s sitemap is of vital importance to the search engine web crawling robots. Sitemap enables the search engines to calculate the number of pages on your site, analyze what these pages constitute, and how often your site is updated. In addition, if you make any changes to your site, the sitemap informs the search engine of the alteration, and the change is indexed faster than it would have without a sitemap. 
Since your sitemap contains a link to every page within your website, if the search engine robot hits your sitemap, it would follow every link listed there as well. Thus, each page of your website is ultimately indexed by the search engine. This alleviates dependence on external links directing the search engines to your site. When the links of all the major pages are included in the search engine database, your site is more likely to appear when the user performs a query.  Google favors websites incorporating a search engine optimized sitemap. If “spiders” do not find their way around your website, your site wouldn’t get indexed and the content won’t be ranked. As a result, organic traffic through your site would dwindle. 
A well planned sitemap should be linked to your homepage. This makes it easier for search engines to find it and follow it back to the site. If it’s linked from other pages, the search engine might inadvertently hit a dead end page and just quit. Also, SEO experts believe that you should have no more than 40 links on your sitemap, since it might confuse the visitors and raise suspicion in the search engine. A good sitemap shows a quick overview of your site, utilizes important keyword phrases, provides an easy to follow path for the search engine robots to follow, and quickly shows the users where they need to be.

Sitemap Helps the User Understand the Theme of the Site

Have you ever wandered aimlessly through a site, browsing page after page, wondering what the website is all about? The sitemap provides the snapshot of your site’s theme and helps the user better grasp your services and products and know what you are about. The sitemap also helps the web master when adding new sections or a page. When they add a new section, they can view the site makeup and take in to account the current structure, to maintain the organization of the site. This way, adding new content never disrupts the harmony and relevance of the site. 

Reduces Broken Links

If your site has any broken, missing, or incorrect internal links, the crawl reports can be picked up straightaway with the help of sitemaps. Since these orphan pages or broken links can’t be accessed in any other way, people resort to using site map links to open them. While the problem should be fixed as soon as possible, sitemaps can help meanwhile.  For this reason, two individual sitemaps are recommended: An HTML sitemap for the look of the website, and an XML sitemap for facilitating search engines.

Analysis of Sitemaps

A sitemap is one of the most vital elements of a website. While building or revamping a sitemap may require some time and resources, it is worth the trouble. Getting spiders to index your site is the life blood of search engine optimization and gives those spiders a lot more flies to feast on!

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