Some people believe that sitemaps are unnecessary, while others consider sitemaps as vital for any website. However, the latter is true. A sitemap that is created with a clear-cut objective in mind can easily contribute to the success of a website. And an organized one will make it easy to access and index a website by various search engines.
Before anything else, you should get yourself familiar with search engines, crawlers, and indexing first before you appreciate the benefits of sitemaps.
Search Engines, Crawlers, And Indexing
Indexing is a process that search engines do to keep snippets of information about a website’s web pages. If your site’s pages are indexed, they become available in a search engine’s database and will be included in search engine results pages (SERPs) if they were considered relevant to a search.
To index, search engines send out small programs called crawlers or spiders. They access your site and read every page it can access to be indexed.
There are three common scenarios crawlers can access your site.
- If they find a link to your site on another website they visited
- If you use various search engine tools or register your site in a search engine
- If you submit your sitemaps to search engines
The Benefits Of Sitemaps
Out of the three, submitting your sitemap is faster and more effective when it comes to letting search engines crawl index your website. Moreover, you only need to submit your sitemap once since most search engines will periodically and automatically access it to check if there were changes in your sitemap.
There are two categories of sitemaps:
- XML: These sitemaps help crawlers and search engines locate the pages within your website. XML sitemaps provide search engines with your website and its pages’ addresses. Some sitemaps may contain meta-information that can improve the way search engines index your website. You can read this post here to know more about XML sitemaps.
- HTML: These are often viewable by website visitors. It’s a page that you can visit on a website where you can find all the links to most of the pages available to users. You can say that it functions similarly to a mall directory. Alternatively, you can also submit HTML sitemaps to search engines.
You might be already using an XML or HTML sitemap without your knowledge. Most content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress generate them automatically. All that’s left is for you to take advantage of its benefits listed below:
1. Your Pages Will Be Indexed
Thinking about the advantages of sitemaps, sitemaps mean quicker, easy tracing, and crawling of spiders in your site. This results in search engines making your pages available the sooner you publish them online.
2. You Can Prioritize Content Visibility
If you want to funnel traffic into specific pages, you can influence search engines to prioritize which pages get crawled first. This is especially useful if you have an expansive site. Know that search engines take a while to index websites with hundreds of pages. Setting priorities ensure that search engines are updated with your most important content.
3. Easy Navigation For Site Users
When site visitors access your site, they should not revisit the search engine page to search for what they want. If what they’re searching for is within your site, then it means they will have an easier and quicker way of finding it. Again, sitemaps are like mall directories. If your visitors are lost, they can always consult your sitemap to find what they want.
4. Enhances Search Engine Visibility
Site mapping improves the ranking of web pages on search engine results pages. When a web page is highly rated on SERP, the web pages can now be accessed by many internet users, which translates to increased traffic. This is favorable to both web owners and users. As an internet user, you get information concerning the top sites that match your search request, and the website owners get their content accessible all throughout the world.
5. You Can Take Full Advantage Of Search Engine Tools
If you submit sitemaps to search engines, it’s most probably that you’re also using their web analytics services. Aside from indexing your website, search engines can also provide you with insightful reports about the performance of your pages and any potential errors that the crawlers may find. For example, search engine analytics will give you information about web pages that aren’t accessible or return errors.
If you want to draw more traffic to your site through keyword-optimized content, you can’t overlook the significance of site mapping. It will assist the web crawlers in navigating and indexing your web pages. Therefore, devote enough time for effective site mapping. A lot of effort goes into creating great content; therefore, devoting enough time to ensure all your content is indexed and crawled will guarantee that your hard work is worth it.