Sitemaps for SEO

Posted March 30, 2015 by Super User in Search Engine Optimization

Sitemaps and SEO

A Sitemap’s purpose is spelling out a website’s main content and to provide search engines with the content they should present to visitors who search keyword phrases.  Back in the early days of websites and search engines, SEO firms made huge profits by submitting websites they supported to thousands of search engines that were in existence. Today’s SEO is much different; we seek to take full advantage of any opportunities to provide our content in all of the appropriate types of media available. Here are some tips for an effective and useful sitemap and how to implement it into your website.

What distinguishes an ok sitemap from a great one?

A great sitemap does the following:

  • Show a fast, easy to understand overview of the website.
  • Provide pathways for SE algorithms to follow.
  • Provide text links to every sub-page of the website site.
  • Show visitors where the information they desire is located.
  • Improves how your website is indexed by search engines.

 

The do’s and don’ts of sitemaps and websites.

  • The sitemap should be linked from the homepage of the site. By linking from the homepage, the search engines will have a very easy time locating the sitemap and can properly index your entire website. Don't make it hard for engine spiders to find what they are looking for.
  • Smaller sites can put every single page on the sitemap, but larger sites cannot. Search engines do not like really large sitemaps. 
  • The majority of professionals in the SEO industry state that a site should have no more than 25 to 45 links to the sitemap. This makes the sitemap very easy to be read and understood for visitors. Creating sitemaps for the website visitor can also make a very complex hierarchy easy to digest.
  • Provide an anchor text, which are words that can be clicked. This text should contain keywords to the specified site and must link to the designated page.
  • After the sitemaps are created, the links must be checked for the second time to ensure they aim to the right path.
  • Every page in the sitemap should contain links back to the sitemap.

 

Implementing a sitemap into site.

Create a XML sitemap.

  1. Sign up for a free sitemap generator account at DYNO Mapper for 14 days. After signing up for an account, click the Create Sitemap from URL button and enter your website url.
  2. Use the visual sitemap display to double check all the pages of the sitemap generator was able to find. Remove or add any addition pages to make your sitemap complete.
  3. Export a XML sitemap using the tool bar on your visual sitemap.

Create a HTML sitemap.

  1. Using the DYNO Mapper online sitemap generator, edit and customize the sitemap style and colors.
  2. Export a HTML sitemap and upload it to your website server and link to it from your footer menu. If you do not have a footer menu, link your html sitemap next to your copyright notice.

     

What about multiple sitemaps?

  1. Decide if you need more than one sitemap. Typically, the majority of websites will only require one sitemap, but larger websites require more.
  2. Where do they go?
    1. One sitemap: Upload the sitemap in root of the domain.
    2. Multiple sitemaps: If the site is greater than 50 thousand pages, it is better to use multiple sitemaps. If you have this many pages, represent each major section of your website with it's own sitemap. Link each sitemap from one central sitemap located in the root of your website.

Upload the sitemaps into Webmaster tools. The next step is to upload your xml sitemaps to your Google Webmaster tool. To do so, login into Webmaster tool account, click Sitemaps on the right side of the site, and click Add Sitemap. If updating a current sitemap, remove the older one first.

You can’t let the website look after itself; likewise, the same logic applies to the sitemaps. Whenever the site updates, sitemaps must be updated as well to reflect the change that was made. Keeping the sitemap updated will make your site perform better for visitors and search engines.

Author: Super User

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