Search engine optimization is a topic that is valued by most website owners, webmasters, online entrepreneurs, bloggers and anyone interested in establishing an online presence of any nature. There are loads of good information, advice and tips about SEO on the Web, but none can really be considered to be the best. You are free to engage the services of an SEO expert to improve your site rankings or do it yourself – the choice is yours to make. The Web is full of resources you can use anytime, and since the best things in life are free, you can attain a higher rank in SERPs without spending much if you know what you're doing. But things are not that straightforward.
In most cases, the number and quality of inbound links matter a lot. The popularity of your site is crucial; if other users don’t find your website’s information useful, it doesn’t deserve much attention. It is for this fact that Google introduced sitemaps in 2005, followed by the launch of XML sitemap a year later. The service is a product of the collaboration among search engines that include Yahoo and Bing. Other than ensuring that websites are indexed as expected, a sitemap also provides a myriad of statistics about the site's content. Webmasters can use this information to fix errors, improve on user experience and also boost ranking in SERPs.
Enhanced Content Visibility
Typically, the search engine spiders first land on the home page and then crawl the other pages from there. This way, they can easily trace all the content and index any new information fast. Having a sitemap page simplifies this process because all the links to what you consider important is contained in a single page. Some pages may be hidden deeper in the site, especially for bigger sites with lots of content spread out across numerous pages and categories. With a sitemap, such content, which would otherwise be concealed from the users and search engines, is discoverable and indexed fast. With more content making it to the search engines, the site will attract more traffic and boost its ranking. This might not be a direct SEO benefit, but of significant benefit to the overall ranking.
Whenever a user visits a site in search of information, the expectation is to find such information fast. Typically, they would use the category and sub-category pages and maybe, the search tool. Web users are impatient, and really have no time to search for data from one page to another. Why do that when the next result is just a click away anyway? If your information is easily discoverable and the users find it interesting, they will be motivated to come back for more at a later date, or even refer some other people to your site. It will also encourage social sharing, and who knows – the content might end up viral. That is very good for SEO because the more visitors your site attracts, the more popular it becomes on the search engines.
Links and Keywords
Sitemaps mainly contain links with descriptions. Some sitemap pages are highly ranked by the search engines because of the high number of on-site links as well as rich keywords used, particularly in the descriptions. For every page you add in your sitemap, it is advisable to include a brief description to guide the user on the page’s content. As a result, you end up with a keyword-rich page, an important SEO ingredient.
Creating sitemaps for your websites is a good investment. It not only ensures better user navigation, search engine crawling, and content indexing, but can also be very helpful for your search engine optimization purposes.