If you’re looking to build a website or perhaps update an existing one, you want it to be user-friendly, organised, and search engine-optimised. These things help make your website more fluid and easy to navigate by providing both site visitors and search engines with all the information they need about your website.
The question is, how do you achieve all of this? The answer is a sitemap. XML sitemaps function as a roadmap for your website where it directs Google to your most important pages. It tells the search engines about how your content is organised which can boost your rankings on SERPs (search engine results page).
There’s no denying that sitemaps are an integral part of a website and you want to take advantage of it as much as possible. Here are 5 ways on how sitemaps can benefit your website.
- Sitemaps can improve your SEO
When you submit a sitemap to search engines, it gives the software system a better understanding of how your site is arranged, thus making it easier for web crawlers to crawl your website more intelligently. This includes crucial SEO feeding information like how often a page is changed or updated or if there are any alternative language options for a specific page. These things help favour your site in terms of Google’s algorithms and improve your search engine optimisation altogether.
- Sitemaps make your website more user-friendly
Building a sitemap drastically improves the functionality of your website, especially when you consider how site visitors will interact with your site. Users today are spoiled with a wide array of places where they can source information and find what they need. If your website feels clunky and difficult to navigate, they may end up leaving your site.
This is called bounce rate. Bounce rate is the amount of visitors that navigate away from a website after visiting only one page. The higher the bounce rate, the more negatively it impacts your sales and SEO. That’s why sitemaps are important because it streamlines your website and makes it more user-friendly so that site visitors can interact with other pages and contribute to a lower bounce rate.
- Sitemaps put your website on the “map”
One of the reasons you invest so much time and effort into creating content is because you want to be found on the web. Sitemaps help your website become more discoverable through optimising content for search engines. Use a site map creator to generate a sitemap and you’ll be surprised as to how discoverable your website will be. Sitemaps are highly recommended for new websites that want to gain traction on the web and for other content pieces that you want your site visitors to take a look into.
- Sitemaps notify Google when your content is modified
Maintaining a higher rank in search engines is crucial if you want to drive organic traffic to your website. To do this, your content must be constantly updated to provide the kind of information your site visitors need. Whether you’ve used a sitemap creator or have manually created a sitemap, Google will be notified immediately once you’ve updated your content.
While producing quality content is essential for the growth of your website, that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose your old content. Updating it will provide you with an increased freshness score and receive an adequate spike in traffic. Not only that, but updating your content can also improve your click-through rate. No one wants to read an outdated article in regards to SEO or site mapping because the information that was accurate then might not be in today’s standards.
- Sitemaps are free of charge
With sitemaps, you can enjoy plenty of benefits all without costing a single penny. That’s right, it’s absolutely free and you get to reap the rewards of how effective it is at optimising your website. Do note however, that site mapping can be time-consuming when created manually. The good news is, there are a whole host of sitemap tools that can help streamline the entire process.
One example is Slickplan which is an online sitemap tool that enables you to track the design and planning phase of your website. This help preserve your precious resources like your time, money, and energy while building a website that’s intuitive, easy to navigate, and SEO-ready.
How to tell if your website needs site mapping
Google’s web crawler Googlebot is adept at discovering most of your website, even if some of your pages aren’t properly linked. But to ensure that your website is both fluid and responsive, you should definitely consider creating a sitemap. Google has laid out a criteria that tells if your website needs site mapping for better efficiency:
- Your website is huge – Large websites can sometimes be difficult to crawl due to the vast array of content. As a result, Google’s web crawlers might overlook certain pages on your website, especially those that are new or have been updated.
- Your website contains an archive of pages that aren’t properly linked – Internal links are what connects your content and is what gives Google an idea of how structured your site is. If there are any content pages that are isolated or aren’t properly linked, you can just list them in a sitemap so that Google doesn’t miss out on crawling such pages.
- Your website is new and lacks external links – If your website is brand new and there are little to no external links to it, Google may find it difficult to discover your pages.
Keep in mind that while sitemaps aren’t required, it is highly recommended because of how it can impact the growth of your website. Using a sitemap won’t guarantee that all of your pages will be crawled since Google’s algorithms are complex, but it can definitely enhance certain aspects of your website like its functionality, SEO, and more. Create your own sitemap today and experience the benefits of an improved website.