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The Site Map – Is It Important ?

by SEO Tips

A site map (or sitemap) is a web page that lists the pages on a web site site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. This helps visitors, and search engine bots, to find pages on the site.Site maps can improve search engine optimization of a site by making sure that all the pages can be found. This is especially important if a site uses Macromedia Flash or JavaScript menus that do not include HTML links.

Google Map is very well known for creating interactive world maps. Google Map is a very powerful mapping tool, and it is free for embed to your HTML web page. You can use Google Map to generate web maps with street level details, zoom in and out easily. You can also add 'bubbles' anywhere on the Google earth map to pinpoint a location, and search locations by simply type in a postal address.

HTML site maps are archaic. Visitors to your site will almost never use them. You may even forget you have one. You will certainly forget to update it as often as you should. Still, the site map is a critical component of the site.The first thing to realize is there is a specific purpose for having a site map. The purpose is to make it is as simple as possible for search engine robots to crawl your site. The more pages indexed by the search engines, the better off you are.

Links are a very important part of successful search engine optimization. When search engine crawlers visit your web site, they look for links that can be used to help determine the relevance of pages and assist with search engine indexing. If you build a web site and have a link to each one of your other pages, this can improve your web rankings and make it easier for search engines to find your site when people search for the keywords you use on your web site.

A site map is a necessity if you have a website greater than 100 pages. If it's a one page mini-page, you would definitely have no need to supply your visitors with a sitemap. However, if you know your website is going to grow to greater than 100 pages you should construct an organized sitemap that will burrow down to all levels of your website. Again, if it does nothing else, it does help the search engine spiders to better find all your pages.

You might ask how the previously mentioned search engine robots actually find the new web pages that they visit. They simply follow the links that they find between web pages and then move onto the next page's linked pages. In this way the search engines follow a theoretically endless web of interlinked web pages. This is how this type of software got its many nicknames 'web crawlers', 'spiders' and 'spiderbots' to name just a few.

Site mapping may seem like an unnecessary step in the design process, especially with the fairly simple sites that direct response marketing demands. But without a fully-detailed site map, you run the risk of increasing your costs beyond your original budget when you find out that the page you've designed doesn't work properly, or that you need some additional content or images but aren't sure where to put it.

Site maps also provide lots of nutritious spider food for search engine robots that crawl your site and eventually index it. Once the robot gets to the site map, it can visit every page on your entire site because all the information is clearly indicated on that one page. However, in order for your site map to work most effectively, you must include a link to your site map in the navigation on every page of your site.

Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2010