Have you ever scrolled down to the bottom of a webpage and noticed that among the links there, there’s a reference to something called a ‘sitemap’? Indeed, you might have even clicked on it and been presented with a list of that website’s pages. What’s the point of a sitemap and should your site have one?
Why is a sitemap so necessary anyway?
Now, given that you are able to view sitemaps for yourself, you might have imagined that their purpose is to make it easier for the average person to get around the site.
Well, they certainly could be handy in that regard… but they are often geared at least as much to the needs of search engines as they are to the requirements of human users. While a sitemap isn’t mandatory for search engine optimisation (SEO), they could nonetheless be invaluable in telling search engines which pages of your site to index.
Which type of sitemap should you be using?
Two types of sitemaps exist: HTML and XML. If you’re simply looking for something that will assist your visitors in getting around your site, a HTML sitemap might suit you just fine.
If you want your sitemap to communicate directly with search engines – including quickly letting them know about new or updated content so that pages can be indexed sooner – an XML sitemap is the one to go for.
How can I generate an XML sitemap for my site?
There are various ways to create XML sitemaps – indeed, some content management systems (CMSs) even generate them automatically.
For sites based on WordPress, for instance, a popular way of creating sitemaps is by using Yoast’s SEO plugin, which also boasts various other SEO-related features. As far as the sitemap generation aspect is concerned, this plugin doesn’t just automatically create a sitemap for your website – it also submits it to Google and Bing, and continues to update the sitemap automatically. So, whenever you create a new blog post or product page, it will be instantly added to the sitemap.
There’s so much more we can teach you about sitemaps
We could go into a lot more detail on the subject of sitemaps, but we think you’ve probably got the basic idea by now; they’re extremely important for SEO purposes, enabling you to keep search engines better informed about pages on your site so that they can be properly indexed.
Why not, then, get on the phone to our SEO marketing experts here at PENNInk Productions, who will be able to advise you on the steps that we can take to bolster your own site’s sitemap and other elements of its offering to human users and search engines alike? Simply give us a call on 020 8144 7931 or complete and submit our straightforward online contact form to learn more.
Edward Solomon has over 15 years’ experience in project management, technical education, computer networking, web design and development and is a Digital Business Consultant for PENNInk Productions Ltd.