You’ve heard of a sitemap—that list of links that looks like an outline for essays like you used to do in college. There’s no good reason to use a sitemap, is there? It’s all redundant anyway, right? Well, you might be surprised. Here are four ways that a sitemap can help you out.
1. In-House Organization
This page gives you a complete, meta-perception of what your site looks like. You may browse through for opportunities or search with a purpose. For example, if you have a services page that you want to split into descriptions about each separate service, you’ll have the tools to be able to think about what that will look like.
Do you want to just split the pages equilaterally? Is one page best communicated as a subset of another page? Should you build separate top-level sections for different offers? The opportunities go on from there, and it would be much harder to make a decision if you didn’t have a sitemap at your disposal.
2. Help People Navigate the Site
It’s probably no surprise that something called a “sitemap” can be a navigation tool. But if you make it available for people who drop by your site, you offer them another (and often exceedingly easy) way to navigate between pages and subpages. What they want to get to is not always obvious, and laying your cards on the table is going to be best for you and your visitor.
If you have tens of pages on you site (or even a bigger number, into the thousands), lost visitors have the option to pull open the sitemap and find out where they may have gone wrong. That’s a very useful option for them to navigate to the content they want most. And since these visitors are self-selecting to try to get to that page, they’re more likely to perform whatever next action you might want from them—buying, giving contact information, etc.
3. Demonstrate a Theme
Looking over the links included on a sitemap gives your visitors an idea about how you want to communicate with them. You show which subjects you consider to be most important in a visual food chain, as well your methods of categorization. The visitor gets an idea of what you’re about, which means they’re better equipped to recommend you or purchase from you.
4. Search Engine Optimization
With this single page, a web crawler has access to your entire site, its hierarchy, and a lot of the most important tags. Using this information, it will follow the links that you provide on the sitemap and then index them all.
This easy access to information will put your site in a better position to come in searches that relate to you. Pages can pop up from the title they’re given, the name of the link, or other tags or content found on the site.
For this reason, it’s really important to have a link to your sitemap on the front page of your site.
Does your site have a map included? How has it helped you to make tactical edits? Has it been useful for your visitors? Did you notice any changes in search traffic after you published? Or, are you still unsure on what a site map is all about? Leave a Reply or set up a consultation with an Internet Marketing Professional in Bothell, Washington.