A site map (or sitemap) is a list of pages of a web site accessible to Internet browser crawlers or users. 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. There are two popular versions of a site map. An XML Sitemap is a structured format that a user doesn’t need to see, but it tells the search engine about the pages in your site, their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated. HTML sitemaps are designed for the user to help them find content on the page, and don’t need to include each and every subpage. This helps visitors and search engine bots find pages on the site. (1)
Google introduced Google Sitemaps so web developers can publish lists of links from across their sites. The basic premise is that some sites have a large number of dynamic (frequently changing) pages that are only available through the use of forms and user entries. The Sitemap files contain URLs to these pages so that web crawlers can find them. Bing, Google, Yahoo and Ask now jointly support the Sitemaps protocol.
Since Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and Google use the same protocol, a Sitemap lets the four biggest search engines have updated page information. Sitemaps do not guarantee all links will be crawled, and being crawled does not guarantee indexing. However, a Sitemap is still the best insurance for getting a search engine to learn about your entire site. Google Webmaster Tools allow a website owner to upload a sitemap that Google will crawl, or accomplish the same thing with a robots.txt file.
Maximizing search engine optimization is a goal of every website owner and in turn, brings traffic to a site. Traffic turns into views, views into sales, and sales into profits. Profits are the goal of every home business.
You don’t need to hire a professional to improve your website SEO. Homepreneurs provides instructions for improving traffic to a blog or website and we will show you how to add a sitemap too.
Dion D. Shaw
Next up: How to add a sitemap to a WordPress site template.
(Google sitemap from Wikipedia Commons)
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