We have close to one billion websites on the World Wide Web. This is a huge number, bearing in mind that each of these struggles to take up the topmost positions in the search engines. There are two major sitemap types recommended for any website; the HTML and XML sitemaps. Having the two installed on the site serves various purposes; especially ensuring that your content is discovered in time and indexed and users don’t have hard time finding information on your site especially if you are operating a content-rich website.
Even though you can always use a website mapping tool to create sitemaps, the most important consideration is to understand the nature of your website. If you have thousands of pages, no one will be interested in wading through a long list searching for specific information. It is therefore crucial to break down and prioritize different pages and sub-pages based on the commonality of the topics. For HTML sitemaps, users will easily find a category they are interested in and sift through the list for information they are interested in. For XML sitemaps on the other hand, it will be easier for the search engines to move from the main pages down to the sub-page, crawling and indexing in the process.
There is no specific number of sitemaps required; it all depends on different types of situations and also the web content on the website. If you own and run a small website, then in it is not mandatorily required to have an HTML sitemap because users can find all the information with just a click. The physical visibility of all web pages is easy. However, for the reference of the search engines you should always maintain an XML sitemap, especially if you have a blog that is frequently updated.
For the websites with multilingual content, it is always advisable to create multiple sitemaps according to the various languages. A really good XML website mapping tool will generate various sitemaps as per the language constraints. Suppose you have some French content for French users and English content for the other users then this file can localize your searches and can target the correct audience. Doing this will boost your user experience because the web visitors will get access to information in a language they best understand.
It is always advisable to divide and sub divide your XML sitemap file so that it is easy to comprehend if any changes are made in future. The nesting must be done effectively so that when later on some page is deleted or modified, it is easy to discover. So you can always use multiple sitemaps but depending on certain set criteria.
One of the main reasons of having sitemap on a site is to organize the content, and that stretches to the sitemaps themselves, they have to be organized from the beginning. Think about the users and the search engines. Having more than one sitemap is very advisable, and a website mapping tool can enable you achieve this. Read another article How to Have Multiple Sitemaps for One Webstie.
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