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SEO: Why Use a Sitemap

search engine optimization


A Sitemap is a website page and a tool that allows the users and search engines to locate the different pages of a website. It is an interactive map that displays the site’s structure and the anchor text links of webpages to give the visitors an easy navigation within the website. But sitemap is not only useful to human visitors, it also provides indexing information for search engines. Thus, a sitemap is also an important reinforcement for search engine optimization.

There are two types of sitemaps, the first one is made for human visitors and the second one is for search engines:

HTML Sitemap

An HTML Sitemap is very helpful to human visitors especially if the website is complex. HTML sitemaps serve a guide in navigating the pages within the website. This type of sitemap uses the HTML format in creating an outline text version of the site navigation bar and menus. All the website pages are listed in the HTML Sitemap, in which the anchor texts are linked to its respective pages. However, more than just being a diagram of a website and a navigational tool for human visitors, an HTML Sitemap also aids the search engines by indexing unique and relevant keywords of the anchor text links.

XML Sitemaps

A sitemap which is especially designed for search engines is called an XML Sitemap. It is a file that identifies and lists the URLs of a website which is submitted to search engines. XML Sitemaps help the search engines to index the websites built in Flash and websites which are not in HTML format because search engine bots can’t crawl these kinds of websites easily. XML sitemaps can be also used for specific types of content like video, images, news, software and the likes to inform search engines particularly Google about the specific content of a website.

A typical way of optimizing an XML Sitemap is by adding supplementary information or metadata to each URL of a website. This additional information can be the amount of pages present in a file and the importance of each webpage, as well as how often you publish your new content.

The Importance of Sitemap on SEO

Sitemaps make the navigation easier for human visitors, aside from this; it is also helpful to strengthen SEO campaigns. Sitemaps are a useful aid to SEO in a way that they make the finding and indexing of every web page easier and faster for search engines. By using Sitemaps, you are allowing the search engines to understand the content of your website.

Furthermore, sitemaps inform the search engines if there are changes in your website or if your site is new. You can also maximize the use of your keywords by increasing the keyword density because of the relevant anchor texts indicated in the HTML sitemap. Particularly, by making an XML sitemap and submit it to different search engines, you are telling them about the existence of your website and what it has to offer to them.

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