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What Is a Sitemap and Why Does My Website Need One?

What is a sitemap?

Simply put, there are technically two types of sitemaps. One is a file that lists the web pages of your website, which search engine bots can use to better navigate. The second is a visible sitemap, which is a page that guides your visitors through the layout of your website’s pages. Both have their uses, but the first type of sitemap, which relates back to search engine optimization, is one we highly recommend having.

Why does my website need a sitemap?

While sitemaps aren’t required, they’re highly recommended, and that’s because of how search engines interact with them. A sitemap file allows a search engine’s crawlers to find and understand all pages of your site easily and efficiently. Not only will this direct them to every page of your website no matter how large your website is, but it will also help them to understand the relation between your pages, which is crucial. This has such a major impact on search engine optimization because it enables search engines to find and understand the content of your website, improving its ranking.

For website that are new, large, or made as an archive, sitemaps are especially important.

  • New websites often have few external links coming to the site, so search engines may have a hard time finding your website pages.
  • Larger websites with many pages will often have some of their content overlooked– for instance, if you’ve recently updated a page and didn’t update the site’s meta to cue search engines that it changed.
  • With websites that archive information that doesn’t relate, you won’t be using links to naturally navigate between pages. This will make it difficult for crawlers to find all of the pages they’re looking for.

Sitemaps don’t always include every page of your website, but we strongly recommend making a sitemap that includes at least your most important website pages.

Visual sitemaps may be second in our list of recommendations, but they can be helpful for both your audience and for search engine optimization purposes. By including a visual explanation of how your website’s pages flow, you’ll be able to more easily direct viewers to the content they’re looking for, boosting conversions. You can even add small descriptions to this type of sitemap, giving your website visitors an even clearer understanding and incentive to visit each page. While this type of sitemap doesn’t interact witch search engine bots the same way as the other, visual sitemaps can also enhance your search engine optimization by adding internal links, which will help provide them with an understanding of how your pages are related.

If you’re in need of a website, if you want to ensure you have a sitemap, or if you’d like to check that your website is performing at its best, then contact the i3 Media Solutions team! We’re happy to help you with website design and development as well as enhancing your existing website.

Let’s start with a free consultation! You can set one up from our contact form or Facebook page.

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