“Good SEO work only gets better over time. It only searches engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” -Jill Whalen
Web design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) go hand in hand in giving users an optimal search experience. For this reason, you do not only need a company specializing in web design but one that has expertise with SEO as well. Today, SEO continues to be a powerful technique and strategy to drive more traffic to a website.
As websites become more complex, search engines would continue to develop approaches to refine a search to give users a much more satisfactory experience. One of these techniques is through the utilization of a sitemap. A sitemap is paramount if you want to rank in Google.
What is a sitemap?
It is an XML document which contains a list of pages on your website that you have selected search engines to index. Although Google does not decide to index every page listed, it would serve as a guide to the pages available on your site. Furthermore, it makes the process of indexing pages relatively faster as it carries information about each page (creation date, last modification date, importance relative to other pages on the site).
One of the primary benefits of sitemaps is that it can improve the crawling of your site. Most especially if the pages of your site are appropriately linked, you can guarantee that Google’s web crawlers can discover almost every nook and cranny of your site.
Who run one or more website definitely interested in sitemap building. But the main question is what are sitemap advantage.
Which websites would benefit most from sitemaps?
However, while sitemaps are a worthwhile addition to a website, they are far more helpful to websites that meet a set of certain criteria. According to Google, the criteria to be met for sitemaps to be beneficial is that a site must be new, large, rife with content that is not properly linked and ones rich with media content. From the criteria given, it can be easily concluded that most websites would need a sitemap.
Although Google cannot guarantee that its designated bots would read a website’s sitemap. They have also posted that sitemap poses no risks to site owners. On the contrary, in fact, only benefits as Google would never penalize a website for having a sitemap. So, if you want a particular site to rank, you might as well begin by having a sitemap added to your websites.
What is the difference between an HTML sitemap and an XML sitemap?
The main difference between HTML and XML sitemaps mainly lies in who it is primarily written for. HTML sitemap is to humans while XML sitemap is to search engines. HTML sitemaps would assist lost users on your website in finding a page that they are looking for, while an XML sitemap is written for search engine spiders to allow them to easily and speedily extract all the pivotal pieces of information about your website simply by looking at the XML file.
In a sense, if you want to improve your user experience then an HTML sitemap would benefit you most as in the long run, it would result in an improved site ranking. Furthermore, an expertly designed HTML sitemap should ideally have an anchor link that would point to every web page on a website. As a result, the entire site would be crawlable and would dispense with the need for an XML sitemap.
Tackling content syndication, duplication issues through sitemaps
Most websites have content duplication and syndication issues, and one excellent way to address this is through the utilization of an XML sitemap. It is no question that Google penalizes website who duplicate content to eliminate spammy sites from the search results pages. So, what are examples of content duplication?
Well, some sites publish a lot of content and have it syndicated on other websites. Apart from that, some websites would have blog contents republished without the author’s permission. These two are examples of content duplication which Google disallows and penalizes. With an XML sitemap, Google would know that you are the first and original creator of the content as it consistently shows when the content was published.
Apart from letting Google know that you are the original creator of the content, an XML sitemap would alert Google when you have updated your website with new content. Regularly publishing quality content would result in ranking improvements. If Google would quickly know when you have posted or updated a particular content. Remember, when it comes to competitive SEO, content is king. Google rewards and greatly values websites with compelling and quality content.
Creating a sitemap
So, you have seen the allure of having a sitemap on your website and have decided to make one. Just how do you go about it? A sitemap, brilliant as it is, is not exactly a straightforward type of programming. The logistics of creating one may even daunt you. However, do not let this deter you as there are a lot of content management systems (CMS) which would auto-generate-sitemaps. Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress users is a conventional generator for XML sitemaps. However, if you do not use WordPress, there is a myriad of free-tools-online that would create a sitemap for you.
As said above, your website can only benefit from the integration of a sitemap. As there are no known risks and Google would not penalize you for having one. It is best thing among sitemap advantages. If you want your websites to rank better and give your users an optimum and more satisfactory experience, you might as well incorporate a Sitemap into your website. After all, there are no known risks and no penalties, what is there to lose?