What is Sitemap
Advancing your business on the Internet through different online techniques is the smart approach to go presently. Well, there are so many strategies that help a business in optimizing a website, but in spite of all, the most important is a site map.
As the name implies, site maps are just a map of your site. It allows users to easily find specific web pages and also help Google and other search engines to better crawl and index your site. Having an updated sitemap on your site is an important aspect of communication with Google and other search engines.
Site map can be created for each type of content such as videos, blog posts, web pages or more. It is a blueprint that informs your visitors and users exactly where everything is located.
In the digital landscape, the adaptation of site maps is considered as a best web design practice by web masters. It is not a novelty, but it is a necessary tool to increase visibility.
Why a Site Map is important
Site maps have been around for a very long time. Having a well-constructed site map is not only important for users to easily crawl your website, but it also creates a positive experience for your potential audience – especially for a brand new site. If you are wondering why web masters place special focus on the site maps, then the following reasons will let you comprehend its importance.
Search Engine Optimization
There are so many factors that contribute to your site ranking in Google, and a site map is one of them. It is a tool that benefits Search Engines to rank your site well in their search listings. This is because search engines strongly depend on links to identify the important pages of your website, so site map is a good option to boost the rankings of your web pages indexed by Google or other Search Engines.
When web users trigger your website and navigate the sitemap, they would surely learn a lot about your business, services and offerings easily. An updated and well-designed site map will benefit your visitors to quickly perceive the “broad view” of your site and makes it easier for indexing.
Today, visitors makes an instant decision based on what they see. If your site does not offer an easy navigation you may be losing your business. A site map provides an organized list of links to all pages on your website. It lets users or visitors easily find where they are and which pages they are looking for.
A strategically constructed site map allows your visitors to easily access the structure of your website to determine where your site is weak and where it is strong. It is the most recommended and an easy way to organize your site for everyone. Further, if your site is new or have a significant number of pages, then incorporating a site map can be critical to your success. They also help in classifying your website content (including blog posts, videos) through search engines.
Some Important types of Site Maps
HTML and XML are the two widely popular and important versions of a site map.
XML Site Map
XML site maps are utilized by major search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing to better crawl and understand your website. Having an XML sitemap, benefits these search engines to always have new and updated content of your website.
Using your existing Google account, login to the Google webmaster tools to let Google know your XML site map. If you don’t have an account please create one. Once you have successfully created an account, you need to verify and submit the ownership of your website. After completing this procedure you can easily send your sitemap by tapping “crawl” caption and then click to “sitemaps”.
HTML Site Map
HTML site maps are widely utilized by web crawlers to quickly find or access a specific piece of content or webpage that may not be available in any of your menu bars. A direct link to a website’s HTML site map is usually placed in the copyright section or at the footer of a website for users to access. And since it provides a better user interface, many SEO experts recommend them as a powerful ranking factor.
How to create the Sitemap and where to do it
If you are looking to add a site map, but don’t know how to do it, then don’t worry. There are so many online sitemap generator tools that help you to easily incorporate a sitemap on your website. Some tools are totally free while some are paid tools. So, let’s discuss some of the best site map generator.
SlickPlan is one of the best sitemap generator tools that will help you easily create professional and elegant looking site map. It enables you to create intuitive, drag and drop XML site map along with beautiful graphics, colours and images. It is a paid tool, but it also offers 30 days free trial.
WordPress XML Sitemap Plugin
There are a number of sitemap plugins available in WordPress which can be downloaded for free. The most recommended one is WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. The best feature of this plugin is that it allows you to easily create a site map for your website. All you need to do is, install the plugin from WordPress dashboard and then activate it. After this you can easily place a sitemap on your website.
PowerMapper is another popular sitemap generator tool that offers automatic, one click site mapping for all kinds of websites. It is not only beneficial for planning a website, but it is also used to identify the compatibility, usability issues or existing site map errors. Although it is a paid tool, but it allows a free demo for 30 days.
A paid tool with multiple options for site map hosting. It offers a few robust SEO tools including SERP page checker, keyword density calculator, competitor analysis and XML sitemap validator. They also have a free version which only requires 4 easy quick steps to generate a site map.