A Sitemap is a file used by websites to organize and list all the different pages published by a website and acts like a directory to help find all pages of the website and where they point to.
This page will explain how Sitemaps work as well as the different types and how they are used on the internet.
Here is an example sitemap used by our website: https://agrtech.com.au/sitemap_index.xml
Uses of a sitemap
Sitemaps have 3 different purposes which include the following:
1) Website planning for website designers
When building a website a sitemap helps to plan the overall structure of the website including all the necessary pages, categories and sub-pages and how they should be organized for maximum user experience and usability.
Building a sitemap plan before launching a website helps web designers to stay on track and ensure a smooth website build.
2) User navigation
Many large websites will include a link (usually in the footer) to a sitemap page which includes links to all the different pages in a hierarchical structure. This enables the end-user to easily browse the website to find the content they are looking for.
3) Notifying search engines of new content
The next use of a Sitemap is to notify search engines like Google and Bing of new pages and content uploaded to your website which helps them crawl and add the information to their search results.
Most search engines allow you to submit a Sitemap address which they will use to frequently come back to check your website for new content like pages, images, categories etc.
An SEO consultant such as AGR Technology can help you build a Sitemap and ensure it is setup correctly for your website.
Types of sitemaps in use
When it comes to building Sitemaps there are 2 different types of sitemaps which are HTML & XML that have their individual advantages.
HTML: This type of Sitemap is typically a static page containing all links to internal pages and is intended for users to access to browse through the website.
XML: This type of Sitemap is typically automatically generated and is intended for search engines and is is better processed by crawlers as your website gets updated over time.
Which one to use?
This depends on your use case but generally speaking XML Sitemaps are the most appropriate as users will generally use the search button or browse the website directly.
Having said that however having both types of Sitemaps won’t hurt and will be beneficial to both users and search engines and improve usability of your website.
We hope you found this page to be useful, if so be sure to share it and check out our glossary for more information like this.
Trevor MacInnis at the English language Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)