Sitemap is a list of available pages for users. It is a web page having a list or map of pages, typically organized in a hierarchical structure, on the Web site. Sitemap is a document also employed as a planning tool for web designing. Use of sitemap helps both search engine bots i.e. crawlers and visitants discover and locate pages on the site. XML is a markup language generally used as a standard for web crawlers, to find, and analyze sitemaps. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and ASK are currently using the same protocol to read and analyze sitemaps. The Google sitemaps can come handy to web developers to publish lists of links through their web sites.
The scope of crawling by a robot or search engine crawler is determined by robots.text file in conjunction with a sitemap. The robots.text file lists the irrelevant or typically, the user authentication pages to be exclude from being indexed by search engines. Use of sitemap thereby optimize sites for search engine listing by ensuring that all accessible pages are known to robot program. This is especially important if site contains lot of dynamic content.
Several webmasters often consider use of sitemap as redundant. They tend to make use of sitemap just for the sake of it. The significance of advantageously prepared sitemap can only be understood by understanding its value as follows…
- Improved Navigation Objective: Need for a sitemap in its literal sense acts as a navigation map of a site. It comes handy especially when users get lost browsing through several pages of a web site. They can always refer to your sitemap to discover their location within a complex site and navigate through required pages with comfort. Thus, a sitemap fulfills the objective of improved navigation.
- Project the big picture: Need for a sitemap expresses the theme and structure of presented information within the site. Visitors get a gist of or the bird eye view of the information stored in the site and thus saving user’s time.
- Site optimization Objective: Need for a sitemap is very effective tool in site optimization and ensuring that all pages within site are indexed in popular search engines. The search engine crawler or robot is quickly able to crawl through entire pages following the links inside sitemap page if it comes across a sitemap page in the site. For this reason, a link for sitemap page is prominently set on the front page of the website.
- Organization of content: Since sitemap need provides the bird’s eye view for a webmaster, he finds it much easy to add new content or a new section in the website. A webmaster can decide the hierarchy for new content by glinting at existing hierarchy. Thus, one can optimize the website content organization to make it more relevant.
Need for a sitemap is usually meaningful to implement for websites projects with a considerable size. It is important to understand that what sitemap does not guarantee is that all links will be crawled for sure. Similarly, crawling does not assure indexing. Nevertheless, the need for a sitemap is still the best way to expose all the pages in website to search engines.
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