Benefits of and Tips on Designing a Sitemap
you ever wondered how a search engine works?
It must be
fascinating figuring out how this search tool could direct you to
several websites that are relevant to your keywords.
Or, have you
experienced instances where the link that supposedly contains your
keywords is not exactly what you have in mind?
You would probably think
that there must be something wrong with the search engine that it
generated irrelevant results.
does a search engine work?
Two things figure greatly in making search engines work effectively and
efficiently: the electronic search spider and the sitemap.
is a sitemap?
A sitemap is basically a page or pages that serve/s as a directory by
listing all the links to all documents and files found in a website. It
is not merely a random listing of links, but organized in such a way
that it gives the web user an idea of how all the information that can
be found in the site fits into an outline or framework. It is like
viewing the table of contents of a book, or viewing the
“concept map” of the site’s content.
is a spider?
In SEO language, spider is not an animal found in your closet. This
electronic search spider is actually a bot which collects data and
copies content to be stored in the search engine’s database
when keywords are fed into the search dialogue box. The spider reads
the content of the site and sends another bot to follow the links and
copy the content contained in them.
purpose does a sitemap serve?
A sitemap like any other map gives directions to a navigator. It
primarily targets search engine spiders so that they are properly
directed to your site and to the links where keywords entered in the
search dialogue appears. As such, it is actually a useful tool in
search engine optimization. A well organized site map would guide the
spider to find the information it needs when keywords are entered
during a search operation.
As an additional beneficial consequence, sitemaps have proven to be
useful even to web users. Since a sitemap displays all the links to
information found in a website, it helps the user to search for a
particular topic in mind. Many users also use the sitemap to navigate
between pages in a site.
are the benefits of having a sitemap for my website?
No page would be left unturned
Going back to the purpose of sitemaps, having one would mean faster and
easier tracking and crawling of spiders all over your site. As a
result, search engines would surely get to the view all the pages of
your site and not just the pages containing random keywords.
Easier navigation for site visitors
Once a web user has accessed your sitemap, they need not go back to the
search engine page to look for what they need. If what they are looking
for is in your site, then they would have an easier and faster way of
Potential advertising value
If it so happens that a relevant product or service company reaches
your site, then it would be easier for them to see how best they can
position themselves in the different pages of your site as a paid page
Encourage greater traffic to your site
If your company website has a sitemap then potential buyers would have
an easier time in accessing your latest products and services.
Moreover, they would not miss out on any product that might be off
future interest to them since the sitemap would display all information
found the site.
How are sitemaps formatted?
are at least three major types of sitemaps:
categorical & restricted categorical. An indexed site map
appears as an alphabetical listing or directory. A full categorical map
displays all links classified into categories; while a restricted
categorical sitemap displays all links listed in a chosen category at a
The full and restricted
sitemaps are very similar except that the
former displays all links in all categories all at once in a page,
while the latter focuses only the links under the selected category for
easier and less eye-straining viewing.
The most widely used format is the full categorical. Based on the
results of a 1999 SURL study on sitemap designs, the full categorical
format is most preferred by users since it is easier to search for
topics within the site and it allows easier comparison between and
tips in setting up your sitemap
Link the sitemap only to your homepage.
This is to ensure that the spider starts searching from your homepage
down to all the pages listed in your sitemap. In this way, no page
would be left unvisited by the spider.
Do not go beyond 30 pages for a sitemap.
Large websites having 50 or more pages should not go beyond 30 since
this adds more pages to the site, and might make search engines think
that the sitemap is a link farm. Also, this prevents overcrowding of
links which could be tiring to view.
Check all the links listed in your sitemap.
It can be discouraging when you click on a link only to find out that
nothing is displayed. Test your sitemap; click all links in every page
to make sure that all links are indeed linked to the right page.
Give keyword-rich titles to sitemap links.
Keyword-rich titles give your site more advantage in being searched
properly under the right category. But be sure to have this sitemap
link linked back to the sitemap (e.g. back to sitemap).
Provide a short description for the links in the sitemap.
Doing so would give readers a better idea of what to find in the link
and save them time on surfing.
Be consistent in designing your sitemap with the other pages of the
Employ a recurring design and the same HTML template for all pages to
establish identity and build character to your website.
Now that you have learned basic things about sitemaps, maybe it is time
for you to build one for your site.
And most importantly
to create a sitemap.xml:
- Free Online Sitemap generator; Build your Site Map online (XML, ROR,
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