Whether it’s in a meeting with your SEO agency or in consultations with your website agency, it is likely they have consistently made references to Sitemaps. If you have been left wondering what a Sitemap is, what it does and exactly why you need one, continue reading.
Sitemap or sitemap?
Before we dive in, it’s important to distinguish the difference between a Sitemap file and a sitemap file. A Sitemap file (with a capital S) is specifically built for search engine crawlers. It is an XML-encoded listing of the most important content files within a website. It is an essential part of ongoing SEO efforts and the focus of this blog.
This should not be confused with a sitemap file (with a lower-case s) which is created by the web designers to show the pages on the website, how they relate to each other and their hierarchy. It is mainly used when building the website and is intended for human users to find content.
For a clearer understanding of the differences of Sitemaps and sitemaps, check out this comprehensive article by Internet Marketing Ninjas.
Sitemaps and How They Are Produced
A lot of time goes into creating content online, and as such, you’ll want people to see it. However, all that time will have gone to waste if your website doesn’t have a Sitemap that allows this information to be discovered in a sea of other online content.
A Sitemap essentially lists every page on your website and communicates the content to search engines, which will then be able to efficiently crawl your website to index this information. Efficiency is important because you want your website to be ranking as highly as possible as quickly as possible. Thorough indexing by a search engine means that individuals searching for the kind of content you are creating will be able to access it easily.
An Important Part of On-Site Optimisation
Sitemaps are one of the more dependable tools your website can employ to ensure thorough optimisation of your website. An up to date Sitemap will significantly increase SEO, meaning your website will rank as highly as possible in search engine results. You need to know that a search engine is indexing all pages on your website, and a Sitemap should achieve this.
Search engines will be able to efficiently gather important information from your website and display results it knows will be useful to internet users who are looking for specific content online.
How to Submit a Sitemap and Manage It
As soon as your Sitemap has been created, it's time to submit it to major search engines, such as Yahoo, Bing and Google. If your website doesn’t have a Sitemap, search engines may only discover its existence if a bot stumbles across it or if it has been mentioned on the internet elsewhere. Once your Sitemap has been submitted, your website will begin to rank higher in search results in a shorter period of time. This is important because you want your website to be seen, and it's why a Sitemap is one of the key elements used by a SEO agency.
There are a number of tools available that will display all the information you need to know about your Sitemap. Most importantly, this includes any faults that need addressing to ensure it is fully functional. Keep your Sitemap consistently updated with each new page added to your website to ensure that your content is discoverable by an audience that it will help and appeal to.
If your website is particularly large, it is likely that you will need multiple Sitemaps. Search engines will stop indexing a Sitemap once the 50,000-URL limit has been reached, so a website with more than that number of URLs will need to interlink multiple Sitemap together to ensure proper indexing of that website is completed. There aren’t any bonus points for creating multiple Sitemaps if your website contains fewer than 50,000 URLs, so it is important that this tool is only utilised if you really need it.
So hopefully now the importance of having a Sitemap is clear. If you have any queries regarding Sitemaps one of experts will be happy to help. Atelier is a web development company in Hampshire that can help optimise your website to turn more visitors into customer.