SEO tip of the Day: Create and Submit a Sitemap

You’ve chosen keywords, decided on a URL, and have a general outline of all the pages that will exist within your site and the organization in which they will branch out and link, but you still have to create a sitemap page for your website.

A sitemap is similar to a table of contents. It is an organized tree listing pages of your website that are public and accessible to both users and search crawlers. The general outline of the various sections of your site is a perfect blueprint for creating a site map.

Using a sitemap is vital to the success of websites, especially if your site is new or has a significant amount of updated or new pages. Although spiders will continue to crawl and index sites that do not have a sitemap, the importance of sitemaps increases as it is user-friendly and becoming the standard means by which a webmaster submits websites to search engines.

Typically a sitemap is listed in a hierarchical fashion with primary categories broken down into subcategories and a clear display of how each section links to others. Sitemaps not only organize your site for users, but it helps search engine robots see and find what pages exist on your site.

Two types of sitemaps exist: the HTML sitemap, and the XML sitemap. While an HTML sitemap is created primarily as an organization system for human internet users to read and view the breakdown of a website, an XML sitemap is created in code specifically for web crawlers to read and understand the breakdown of pages and structure of a site.

Of all the “white hat” SEO tips and tricks for optimizing a site, the creation of a sitemap is the most crucial and underestimated organic SEO strategy. If you choose to incorporate the use of a site map on your website, it is imperative to generate an XML sitemap in addition to the HTML sitemap in order for it to be picked up by search engines such as Google.

While there are a number of benefits to using a sitemap such as simplified navigation, one of the greatest aspects of sitemap generation is the ability for you to let search engines know right away about any updates or changes on your site. When you update your sitemap and submit the new one for search, the changes will be indexed faster than if you hadn’t used a sitemap. Outside of SEO purposes, maintaining a sitemap helps your pages stay organized and you can keep on top of assuring no links are lost or broken.