Does your business website have a sitemap? This search engine-readable document, typically with an XML extension, contains metadata about your website and its content. At minimum, a sitemap contains a list of all your site’s pages. As search engines crawl your sitemap, they’ll visit these pages to discover your content. Here are five undeniable benefits of using a sitemap for your business’s website.
#1) Increased Search Engine Visibility
A sitemap will increase your website’s search engine visibility by providing Google and Bing — along with other search engines — with the URLs of your content-filled pages. Without a sitemap, search engines may not discover all your website’s pages, resulting in fewer indexed pages and less organic traffic.
#2) Crawling Analytics
You can use a sitemap to analyze the way in which search engines crawl your business’s website. In Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, you can submit your sitemap. Google and Bing will then reveal crawling data about your website on their respective analytics platform. If Google can’t crawl a page because it’s blocked by your website’s robots.txt file, for example, it will reveal this technical problem in your Google Search Console account.
#3) Easy to Create
While they may sound complex, sitemaps are simple and easy to create. You can check out this article by Google for more information on how to create a sitemap. The most basic sitemap supported by Google consists of nothing more than a plain text file with a single page URL on each line. Even if you want to create a more comprehensive XML sitemap, it’s still a quick and easy task that most business owners can perform themselves. If your business’s website uses WordPress, for instance, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to automatically create a sitemap.
#4) Structured Hierarchy
You can show search engines your website’s hierarchy, such as parent category pages and their respective lower-level category pages, using a sitemap. In an XML sitemap, you can assign varying levels of crawling priority to show search engines which pages are parent categories and which pages are lower level categories.
Many business owners are unaware that sitemaps can include metadata for images as well. If you purchase and use stock photos on your business website, for example, you can include the URLs of your photos’ licenses in the sitemap. More importantly, sitemaps support geographic metadata for photos like the country or city in which the photo was taken.
If you have questions about building and submitting a site map, optimizing your website, and increasing visits to your business or professional profile online, call me and I’ll talk through how you can increase leads, increase the value of each deal, and establish or strengthen your online marketing funnel.
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