A sitemap is as it sounds: a map of your website. It both helps with the general navigation and appearance of your website, but also with your SEO rankings. While you do not technically need to have a sitemap for a website, they certainly make your site more user-friendly and easier for search engine bots to find and index. Here’s what you need to know about the functionality of sitemaps for the user experience and for SEO.
In Regards To The User Experience
Sitemaps help with the theme, navigation, and organization of your website. This instantly makes your site look more put together and easily understandable and accessible than a site without a sitemap would be.
Since sitemaps are literally a map of your site, they have links to everything on it, which makes navigation easier. People do not have the patience to figure out a site that is not clear and well-organized. Utilizing a sitemap will help users both instantly understand what your site is about and how to navigate it.
They also help with organization, by having everything on your site neatly filed away. This both assists with the theme and navigation of your site as mentioned above and with whenever you need to add or rearrange your site. It’s easier to add sections or content to a site where you can already see what is on it and how it is laid out.
If you want a user-friendly site, you’ll want to utilize a sitemap. You don’t want all of the hard work put into making a website to go unnoticed through having a site people won’t stay on. Having a clear, easily navigated, organized website will encourage people to stay on it and click around, making sure all the work and information put into it will be seen.
In Regards To SEO
A sitemap lists every page on your site so that search engine bots can find all the information you have available on your website and learn how they relate, so they can make better sense of your content for search engine optimization. This is to say that these search engine bots are figuring out the relevancy of your site to the searches people make, and whether you are on the first page of results or further back. Ergo, this affects your visibility.
Finding And Indexing.
Search engine bots will still find and index your site without a sitemap, but that doesn’t mean they will see everything you want them to. This means that they may not recognize all the content you have to offer, and your search engine ranking can call. A sitemap will help with this.
Sitemaps have a list of all pages on your site so search engine bots will be able to find and index all of them. They also include metadata, which is context about every page, which tells the search engine bots how the pages on your website are organized, how they relate to each other, their update history, and more.
This is why they’re so important to ensure that search engine bots can recognize all the content you have, rather than potentially missing something, and so that they can mark how they relate.
SEO is about more than just keywords. The optimization of a site is in every part of it, from the way it is designed to the content on it to your potential sitemap. Having a sitemap for your site helps with SEO because it tells search engine bots everything they need to know about your site, which is what helps them figure out where your site falls in search results. Thus, having a sitemap boosts the visibility of your website by raising its rank in search results.
Can You Get Away Without Using A Sitemap?
If you have a small website that is comprehensively linked without much in the way of media, you could get away without using a sitemap. But you probably still should, for the sake of the user experience and to help your SEO rankings.
If you have a large or new website, you’ll most certainly need a sitemap. This is because with large websites, it’s much easier for search engine bots to miss information than in smaller ones. It’s also harder to navigate a large site without one, leading to frustrated users. If you have a new site, it probably won’t be linked to on other sites, which will make it harder for search engine bots to find. Uploading a sitemap will make it more visible and easier to index.
Need Help Staying On Top Of Sitemaps?
With Google coming out with a fifth version of their XML sitemaps soon, it’s important to be educated on the values of sitemaps and how they can help your business. Here at Performance Driven Marketing, we know the importance of a good user experience and SEO for increasing your visibility. If you would like to learn more about how our experts can help you, please contact us at Performance Driven Marketing today!