What is a Sitemap?
Posted 03 March 2014
One thing that all of our clients have in common is this: being involved with a website design project is always a steep learning curve! Whether this will be your first website or your 4th, the process is marked by learning. Whilst a website can be very simple, the principles and engineering that make it possible are certainly not. However, a good website design agency will ensure that you’re kept up to speed with everything that you need to know. They’ll also be able to answer any technical questions that you might have.
In this article we’ll be looking at one such question: what is a sitemap?
In simple terms, a sitemap is a directory of all the pages on your website. It is essentially a list of links. It helps users and search engines to see an inventory of every page on your site, enabling them to find what they are looking for.
There are generally speaking two kinds of sitemaps. An XML sitemap is designed to be crawled by search engines so that your website is indexed appears in relevant searches. This is generally not visible to users and is primarily used for search engine optimisation. An HTML sitemap, by contrast, is usually visible on the website and is designed to be used by site visitors. This is very useful when you have a large number of pages or a user is looking for a particular piece of information.
A sitemap has a number of SEO benefits.
1. You can determine the index priorities of each page and say how often the page is updated. This will ensure that you’re inviting search engines to crawl your site regularly.
2. A sitemap allows you to determine which parts of your website are crawled. This helps you to keep your indexing relevant to the search terms that you’re trying to be found for.
3. An HTML sitemap (ie accessible to site visitors) has a number of very practical benefits. It gives an overview of your pages, helping you to identify any pages that are missing, less relevant or poorly named. It also helps you to identify what a search engine can access, and whether you think this adequately represents your keyword priorities.
In conclusion, an effective sitemap is an important part of a successful website. It has a significant impact on the quality of your SEO results and helps to keep your website structured and well organised. If you have a highly visual site it’s also a great way to ensure that the search engines are able to access the same information that your site visitors enjoy.
If you have any questions about sitemaps or any other technical aspects of website design then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are an experienced UK website design company with a reputation for repeat business with satisfied clients.