Sitemaps aren’t always necessary for your website, however, having a sitemap can have a positive impact on your search engine rankings, as well as the user experience on your site. There are two types of sitemaps, HTML and XML formats. An XML sitemap is a file that allows search engine crawlers to fully understand the organization of your site’s content. Then, the crawlers have a better idea of your site as they work to bring up the most relevant results for a search query. An HTML sitemap, on the other hand, displays the site’s architecture for actual users, which may help them get to the page they’re seeking quicker, providing a better user experience.
Regardless of the type of sitemap, either can improve your SEO efforts and help you work your way up in search engine results. If you’re having trouble fully understanding what a sitemap is, take a look at each sitemap example provided below, of both XML and HTML sitemaps.
If you feel you have a firm grasp on sitemaps and would like to continue reading about SEO and how you can improve your website, take a look at the articles provided below:
XML Sitemap Example
Though you won’t be able to decipher much below, the XML sitemap example displays each individual URL for search engine crawlers, which shows them how each URL (page) is organized across the site. These are often hidden files users can’t see, and they’re usually labeled as “sitemap-index.xml” or a similar variant.
Once you have created an XML sitemap for your website, you will then need to submit it to search engines. Luckily, search engines have made submitting a sitemap for indexing remarkably easy. For example, to submit an XML sitemap to Google, you will simply need to access your Search Console and go to the Crawl tab. Here, you can submit your sitemap easily under the “Add/Text Sitemap” section. The process is similar if you want to submit your sitemap to Bing or other search engines.
HTML Sitemap Example
As we move on to our HTML sitemap example (provided below), you’ll see each page of the website listed in the order they’re displayed on site. For instance, you can see “About Business Profiles” stems from “Utah Business Profiles”. Visitors can find this sitemap easy on the homepage, and simply click the page they’d like to visit.
As mentioned before, HTML sitemaps are not the preferred format by search engines. They are, however, used by visitors to your website. In fact, an HTML sitemap can help drastically improve the user experience on your site. If a visitor is having trouble finding a page on your site, they can easily look at your website’s to find exactly what they are looking for.If you’d like more information on what sitemaps are, how they work, and how you can create them, you can find everything you need in the articles below:
Importance of Sitemaps
Having both an XML sitemap and an HTML sitemap on your site can help improve your online presence. As mentioned before, XML sitemaps are used exclusively by search engines and are not accessible to the average website visitor. Search engines use these sitemaps to index your website so they can serve your web pages to search engine users. Each time you add a new page of content to your site, you will need to update and resubmit your sitemap to each search engine.
HTML sitemaps, however, are used primarily by visitors to your website. While your navigation menus should make each page of your website easily accessible, an HTML sitemap can make it easier for visitors to find the exact page they are looking for. As you can see in the HTML sitemap screen shot, your HTML sitemap can be a regular page on your website with links to each page displayed in the proper hierarchy.
HTML sitemaps can be used to your advantage. In essence, they help guide users to certain pages of your site. With this, these sitemaps can direct visitors to important pages of your site, or those that may result in a sale or lead, which could be to your online store or a signup page.
In short, the best practice when it comes to sitemaps is to include both an XML and an HTML sitemap on your website to help improve your search engine results rankings, and improve your user experience on site. Both are easy to create with the tools available, and neither can harm your site.
Track Your Efforts with StatCounter
As you continue to make changes to your site, such as adding a sitemap, you should always track your efforts to ensure your strategies are performing well. With StatCounter’s web tracker, you can monitor a range of metrics on your site, such as where traffic is coming from or what page users are leaving your site from to determine problematic areas of your site. Then, you can continue to make educated decisions as to where to go next with your SEO tactics.
If ever need assistance in utilizing our tools, or have any questions, please contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below.
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