- Posted by V Digital Services
- On October 15, 2018
Due to the fierce competition between websites today, search engine optimization is no longer enough to earn great visibility online. Website managers must be more creative than ever in their approach to gaining rankings on the World Wide Web, which means utilizing often forgotten resources and tools. One such tool is the sitemap.
What Is a Sitemap?
In essence, a sitemap is a simple directory that contains information regarding what pages are on a website and what information can be found on those pages. Google and other search engines use these guides to find and identify information that may be applicable to a user’s search query. The pages within the map are listed in order of relevance, with pages that contain the most relevant information listed at the top and those with the least relevant pages put closer to the bottom.
From a user perspective, sitemaps enhance navigational capabilities. Sites that utilize sitemaps are overall more user-friendly than those that don’t, as these directories allow users to view the sections of a website and all of its links on a single page.
How Many Types of Sitemaps Are There in SEO?
Most developers recognize the two most common types of sitemaps: XML and HTML. However, there are really six different types of sitemaps. They are as follows:
- HTML Sitemap
- XML Sitemap
- Mobile Sitemap
- Video Sitemap
- Image Sitemap
- News Sitemap
All six types of sitemaps impact search engine optimization (SEO) in one way or another. The more sitemaps a site utilizes, the better its odds are of ranking well within the search engines.
Do Sitemaps Help With SEO?
Absolutely. Each sitemap works in its own unique way to help an online property rank well. For instance, an HTML sitemap, which is a normal webpage that links to every page on your site (this is typically the homepage) helps the search engine spiders easily crawl and index your site. It is also helpful for users as it allows them to find precisely what they are looking for without having to click in and out of multiple pages.
An XML sitemap is probably the most useful sitemap in terms of SEO. An XML sitemap involves submitting your web pages directly to Google so that it can generate a sitemap on your behalf. If you choose to use this type of sitemap (which you should), it is important to keep the search engine giant updated about which pages you add and remove. If you forget to inform Google that you took down a page, you risk generating a 404, which is bad for your rankings.
Video and image sitemaps inform the search engines of which of your pages contain videos and images. This can result in a great deal more traffic to your website, as users prefer pages with media over blocks of text.
News sitemaps help you get featured in Google News. Because developing a Google News sitemap is a complex and involved procedure, the competition is less fierce in the news section, which may make a news sitemap a worthwhile investment for you.
If your site is specifically designed with mobile in mind, it is highly recommended that you invest in a mobile sitemap. A mobile sitemap allows search engines to better serve mobile users by redirecting them to websites and pages that are optimized for mobile devices. This means that your site stands a better chance of ranking well in mobile search than other sites that may be optimized for portable devices but that do not contain the proper directory.
Contact V Digital Services To Discuss Your Sitemap Needs
Sitemaps are a crucial yet highly underutilized SEO tool. A large part of why they remain underutilized is because they are time- and resource-intensive to create. V Digital Services can help you develop and implement a customized and effective approach to rank building. Learn more about our website services and organic SEO best practices by contacting our digital marketing firm today.