Sitemaps are important because they allow the search engines like Google and Yahoo! to index your entire site and leave it available for other internet users to find. A sitemap is defined:
A site map (or sitemap) is a representation of the architecture of a web site. It can be either a document in any form used as a planning tool for web design, or a web page that lists the pages on a web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion.
From Wikipedia. Original definition by Peter Morville, Information Architecture on the World Wide Web, Feb 1998, pp:58
A sitemap allows search engines to crawl your site more efficiently and index fresh material from any website. If a webmaster has move or deleted material, the search engine would recognize and change the search engine results to reflect the website change. Although having a sitemap eliminates most of the work that a webmasters takes in submitting a website to search, it does not totally eradicate the effort.
Sitemaps accepted by search engines are general coded in XML format, not HTML. However, a webmaster may create a sitemap structure with HTML for their visitors. For WordPress users, this can be easily done with the installation of Dagon Design Sitemap Generator. (Of course there are plenty of other sitemap plugins too.) Currently, the Dagon Design Sitemap Generator plugin is not an accepted sitemap, however, there is a great plugin that Google recognizes, which is the Google XML Sitemaps plug-in. Once one or both of the plug-ins mentioned have been installed, it is best to go to Google Webmaster Tools to inform them where to find the sitemap.
Sitemaps are not another new fad as they have been around for years. It was not until 2006, that search engine moguls like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN got together to create the guidelines behind a proper sitemap. Since then, sitemaps have been used as a vital technique for search engine optimization. Why? Well, as said earlier in the article, a sitemap would tell the search engine how fresh the content of a page is on any website and post it so internet users can find information they need. Sitemaps would recognize new material and direct crawlers to the information for indexing.
Outside Related Links:
- Sitemaps XML format – Sitemaps.org
- Major Search Engines Unite to Support a Common Mechanism for Website Submission
Do you have a sitemap for your site? Any other benefits you can think of when having a sitemap for your site?