What is a Sitemap, Anyway?
As the name implies, a sitemap literally acts as a map of your website. It lists the pages on your website and creates a link to each one.
So Why is a Sitemap so Important to the Success of your Website?
Optimization: Sitemaps are very important when it comes to search engine optimization. Imagine what happens when search engine robots visit your sitemap. They will follow the links on the sitemap and naturally index every single page of your site.
Navigation: If your visitors browse your site and can’t find what they’re looking for from the main pages on your site, they will often refer to your sitemap. You may be surprised to learn that many Internet users will go to your sitemap first and navigate through your pages from there.
Organization and Relevance: A sitemap enables you to have a complete bird’s eye view of your site structure, and whenever you need to add new content or new sections, you will be able to take the existing hierarchy into consideration just by glancing at the sitemap. As a result, you will have a perfectly organized site with everything sorted according to their relevance.
Types of Sitemaps
There are two main types of sitemaps that can be created. I recommend that you have both.
HTML Sitemap: This type is specifically designed to help visitors easily navigate on your site. There are a number of WordPress plug-ins for this type of sitemap. You can include the sitemap as a widget that will appear on all pages of your site. Or you can create a separate sitemap page and include it as a menu item at the top of your page. The more pages your site has, the better it is to create a separate page for your sitemap. The HTML will help ensure easy navigation for not only your visitors, but can be a good tool for you when deciding on a hierarchy for adding new pages. I use Simple Sitemap and have a separate Sitemap page on my website.
XML Sitemap: This is a list of the URLs on your website that can be submitted to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines to help them crawl your website better. It tells the search engines about the content that you have on your site. It can also include other information such as the date the content was last updated. There are also several XML sitemap WordPress plug-ins. I have the All in One SEO Pack plugin on my website. Another popular one is Google XML Sitemaps.
If you need help selecting and installing a sitemap on your WordPress website, please contact me.
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