Do Sitemaps Help SEO?

Do Sitemaps Help SEO?

With more than one billion websites currently in existence, competition for online presence and visibility is rife. Online businesses are investing a lot in marketing to push their sites on top of SERPs. There are so many SEO strategies that website owners can choose from but for the best results, it is advisable that you try out everything legit and acceptable. For starters, you can start by learning how to create a sitemap. Sitemaps contribute to search engine optimization and provide a more reliable plan to get all of your pages indexed by search engines.

Page Rank Defined

Page Rank is a search engine algorithm that assigns numerical preferences to websites depending on the relevance of the content in the site based on specific search criteria. The higher the page rank of a website, the more popular the site becomes and the higher the internet traffic to the website. This algorithm is based on the number of pages linking to your site and the quality and quantity of content. Bogus and spammed links are easily detected by the algorithm and sites that have these are penalized and do not ranked.

Sitemap Defined

A sitemap is simply a directory or a guide that contains information and details on the pages in your website as well as the content in these pages.  Search engines like Google crawl sitemaps to identify and detect any information that is relevant to a specific search query. Pages on this guide are listed in a hierarchical order, whereby the most relevant pages are placed at the top of the list and the least relevant pages at the bottom.

There are mainly two sitemap types: XML sitemaps and HTML sitemaps. XML sitemaps are structured uniquely such that they are not visible to users but inform search engines on the content in the pages of a site, how often the content in these pages are updated and the relative importance of the pages to each other.

HTML sitemaps are structured for use by the internet users to help them find the content they are looking for in a website. These sitemaps do not include all the pages in a website.  This makes it easy for search engines and internet users find the information they are interested in from a site. When you want to create a sitemap, it is important to understand that some sitemap formats cannot be submitted in Google Webmaster tools; only supported formats can be submitted.

SEO Defined

SEO (Search Engine Optimizing) refers to the concept of optimizing the content in a website using commonly used keywords.  This is so that once an internet user enters a specific set of keywords in a search engine, the content in the website is highlighted in the results thereby making the site visible to the user.  Search engines rely on the placement of keywords in the content published in websites to give the most relevant search results.

Sitemaps and SEO: The Relationship

Gone are the days when SEO was enough for your website to enjoy high ranking in search engines and great online visibility. Currently, there is stiff competition between websites as they try to outdo each other in getting the highest rank possible in search engines.  This has led to the use of sitemaps and SEO together for better rankings in search engines.

When search engines crawl websites, they check for .txt and Meta tags in the sites among other relevant data that might guide in rating the significance of the content to the search queries. When you create a sitemap, such as HTML sitemap and place it on the home page of a website and ensure that it contains all the pages on the site. This enables website visitors to access all the information about each of the pages in the website fright there by accessing a single page. As a result the number of pages crawled and indexed by the search engines increase, leading to higher page rank.

XML sitemaps enables site owners to feed the specific data about the pages they would like crawled by search engines. In addition to this, site owners are able to set the hierarchy / priority of the website’s content and view additional information such as the last time the content was updated. When you create a sitemap and understand this information, such as the keyword searches, you can then create more keyword-specific content for the site, resulting in higher rank in the search engines.  

When you create HTML Sitemaps, for example, you must ensure that each link is accompanied by a brief description about the content it carries. As you work on the descriptions, you definitely will add keywords about the information, and as a result, the search engines may find the sitemap page to be keyword-rich. If this happens, you can attain a higher ranking in SERPs.

Why are Sitemaps Important in Search Engine Optimization?

The main use of search engines is to provide internet users with information on the best websites to get the information and services they are looking for. As such, they act as a directory that index information from websites and make this information available to users upon request.  The main importance of sitemaps to SEO is that they enable search engines to crawl websites and collect this information, making it available whenever anyone in the world makes a specific search.  

Sitemaps boost a website’s SEO efforts greatly thereby enhancing the ranking of websites in search engines. With high search engine rankings, websites become visible to as many internet users thereby increasing the site’s traffic.  

You can use different website mapping tools  to  create a sitemap for a website, which should then be submitted to the search engines’ webmaster tools.  This whole process is effortless, especially if you are using a sitemap generator. For the best results, keep the sitemap updated whenever you add any new information to the site. You not only ensure that your content is found by the search engines, but also users get access to this very important information.

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