Published On :18 November,2008
Just as a book has a table of contents, a website has a sitemap. It is basically a web page that acts as a directory that contains all the links to all documents and files of the website. Unlike a link farm, it is not a random collection of links. Rather it is a definite structure of the website and helps users to have a detailed list of all the content link on a website and how it is structured.
Like the name suggest, a Sitemap is basically a map that lists all the areas of a website and that visitors can browse.
Benefits of Sitemaps
Sitemaps are an invaluable tool for both website visitors and spiders. While website users get to know about the website structure and all the inclusive pages, search engine spiders get a complete list of all the web pages that they can index.
• It performs a crucial role in search engine optimization of a website by directing search engine crawlers to the website and the links therein. When keywords are fed to the search box, the spiders would scan through the sitemaps to find the relevant content.
• As for the website visitors, sitemaps informs them of all the links to information contained by the website so that they can access it easily. It can also be used as an efficient navigation tool to browse through the website.
Types of Sitemaps
There are 3 main types of sitemaps:
• Indexed – It displays all the links and web pages in alphabetical order.
• Full categorical – It displays all the links and web pages sorted into categories. It is the most popularly used mode.
• Restricted – It displays all the links in a selected category at one time.
Set Up of a Sitemap
The set up of a sitemap is extremely important if you want it to function well. Here are some tips to go about it:
Link the Sitemap only to the Homepage of the Website.
This is because when search engine spiders enter the homepage, they are linked to the sitemap that has links to all the pages of the site. This would ensure that all the webs pages are indexed.
Don’t Include more than 30 pages on the Sitemap
Websites that have more than 50 pages should not go beyond 30 pages to include in the sitemap. This is because excessive number of links on one page may lead the search engine crawlers to believe that it is a link farm and ignore it completely. Moreover, this would prevent overcrowding of links at one particular place.
Check all Links on the Sitemap
There is nothing more annoying than broken links. Therefore test your sitemap before making it live and make sure all links are working and pointing towards the correct destination.
Include Keywords in Link Titles
By including keywords in the links of sitemap, you can be sure that the website has more advantage for that particular search query.
Keep the Sitemap Design Consistent with other web pages
The sitemap should look as a part of the website and not as a separate entity altogether. Make sure the design is consistent with all the other pages of the website.
Maneet Puri is an renowned IT technician and director of LeXolution IT Services, a premier web development company in India. His firm provides seamless and cost effective web design services and KPO services to its niche clientele.