The Benefits of an XML Sitemap

Have you heard the term xml sitemap and not sure what it means or you are using an xml sitemap and not sure why?

When searching for SEO beginners training guides and advice from the web there tends to be a focus on meta data and adding keywords into content. Although this is of course important, one of the most overlooked factors in setting your site up is the sitemap.

Strangely the term ‘sitemap’ is one of the most self explanatory terms in the SEO stratosphere. It is simply a detailed map of the pages in your site structure. From a visual perspective its an individual page that shows exactly how your page structure comes together across pages and categories.

With the addition of the XML sitemap (extensible markup language) added to your web server, this helps the friendly search bots discover new pages and documents on your site. An XML sitemap can store a wide range of website information from dates of new pages updates, submission dates etc. A user does not need to see the XML version of the sitemap. The instructions to the sitemap are given to the crawler bot by a Robots Text file.

An XML sitemap is particularly important if you are using javascipt menus without html links or even worse stuck in the stone age with a flash website.

This main benefit of a sitemap and xml sitemap in terms of SEO are that the search bots trawl your whole site using the internal structure created for them to move around. This can in turn lead to additional pages indexing and internal page rank increasing.

There are automated XML site map generators available both free and paid versions on the web so no excuse not to jump on this band wagon if you are not already.  Of course don’t forget to submit your xml sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools (now Google Search Console) and get crawling your pages straight away.

By Zak Jacobs

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