Sitemaps are guides for your website visitors. They help when the user can’t find where they want to go.
A sitemap can be created in both an XML format and a HTML format. But what is the difference?
An XML sitemap helps search engines crawl your site in a more effective manner, making them aware of every page on your site. They can be very useful for larger websites that might result in a longer crawl time. Every site has a certain amount of crawl budget, so it is unlikely that a search engine will crawl every URL the first time it encounters it.
An XML sitemap is a good way for a search engine to build its queue of the pages it wants to serve.
HTML Sitemaps are mostly utilized by the sites visitors, they show every page on the website, from main pages to lower-level pages. A HTML sitemap is just a basic list of pages on a website to help direct your website visitors.
Some say HTML sitemaps are redundant, however, there are still many benefits to incorporating one into your site.
Here are our 7 reasons why you should have a HTML sitemap:
1. Create a More Organised Website
It’s more than likely that your website will grow in size. You may want to incorporate an eCommerce store, expand your company portfolio, or it may just grow as more people and departments are added to your business. Therefore, may confuse the user about where to go and everything you have to offer. A HTML sitemap is essentially an electronic map telling you where to go.
Don’t give your visitors a reason to exit your site, make it as easy as possible for them to navigate through and find where they need to go.
2. Serve as a Project Manager
The sitemap shows the structure of your website, therefore; it can be a convenient project management tool. It can help you keep a clean hierarchy and taxonomy for your site.
It’s better to have a well structured and organised sitemap to allow for easy navigation, than a sitemap with no structure and difficult to read.
3. Highlight the Website’s Purpose
Having a list of every page in your site as a hierarchy can also show your website’s purpose. With every page clearly laid out, it easy to see what your business is about, why you have a website and what you use your website for.
To improve this more, by evaluating your SEO to identify the most unique and relevant keywords to include on your sitemap. Anchor test can be a good way of creating keyword relevancy for a page.
4. Speed up Search Engine Crawlers
Having the assistance of a sitemap can help find content and move it up in the crawl queue. An XML sitemap is just a list of links, whereas HTML sitemap links are actually the way crawlers prefer to analyse the web.
A HTML sitemap can call attention to your website’s most important pages. It is also possible to submit a text version of your site map to Google.
5. Increase Search Engine Visibility
HTML sitemaps help direct bots to get the entire picture of your site and consider all pages before going through any external links. Not only does a taxonomy and hierarchy help users find these, but it’s incredibly important for search crawlers, too. The sitemap can help the crawlers understand the website’s taxonomy.
A sitemap can be any size, no matter how big or small the website is.
6. Enable Page Links in a Natural Way to Drive Visitors
It is likely that not every one of your pages will be linked through your header or footer. This is when the HTML sitemap can be useful and find these ideal connections that address how visitors may look for things.
In this way, the HTML sitemap can reflect a visitor’s journey and guide them from research to purchase. In doing so, this benefit of HTML sitemaps can raise the organic search visibility of these linked pages.
In this instance, the sitemap is the fallback that ensures that there is never a page on a site that is orphaned.
7. Identify Areas that have Room for Improvement
As your website grows and more pages are created, duplicated data may be created, causing issues for search engines.
By creating a map, you will be able to analyse every page and remove any duplicate data.
They can also be sued in conjunction with heat map tools. Using these may help identify how often visitors are using the sitemap and the navigation bar. This helps with determining any changes that can be made to the site architecture to make it easier for visitors to find what they need.
For all these benefits, you’ll want to maintain a HTML sitemap. These benefits save resources (time and money). They also deliver an effective way to guide your website visitors to what they need and help close those sales.
If your company requires a professional online presence please Contact Us to discuss how we can help you, on Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050.