Sitemaps are an important component of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but it is often overlooked because it is not a page your customers often visit if at all. You need to think of a sitemap as a guide for search engines. When a search engine arrives at your site to review it and index it the first thing it is programmed to ask for is a sitemap. The map lists all the pages you want the search engine to know about and also contains information about when the page what updated and what priority the search engine should assign it. The most important thing to remember is that your sitemap must be in standard format that the search engine is expecting or it will be rejected.
You may be more familiar with Site Maps, that link in the footer that takes your a nicely formatted page that lists all the pages you would like customers to know about, usually organized by some idea like About Us, Shopping, etc. Although this is great for visitors to very large sites this does not satisfy your SEO needs. Search Engine get very little to no value from this page. If you are relying on this type of page or have been told this is what a sitemap truly is you are missing a very big part of your SEO.
There are several ways to generate a sitemap. The hardest is to create a sitemap.xml file by hand, but this requires someone to update the information regularly. The easiest is to use a script that automatically generate a sitemap on request with up-to-date information. There are some premium systems available that can be installed on your site. But if you are using a web platform like WordPress or Squarespace this sitemap generator is either already built in or there are plugins available.
To find out if you have a sitemap just add sitemap.xml to the end of the web address for your site. For example, www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml. Each browser formats the information differently but you should see a page listing information about your pages in plain text. If you receive a “Page Not Found” or other error your SEO is suffering and Search Engines are missing an important piece of information about your site. For a live example take a look at our sitemap: www.performancetechsolutions.com/sitemap.xml
To find out more about sitemaps, SEO, or other Digital Business Tips and Tricks check out our other blog posts or find a course we offer that is right for you.
Latest posts by Erich Deitenbeck (see all)
- Video Tip – Google Trends - June 12, 2015
- Video Tip – Create Google Analytics Optimized Links - June 5, 2015
- Email Capture On A Website: Part 2 – Using MailChimp - June 4, 2015