Sitemap. Website Hierarchy

Sitemaps on a Web Site – Why Are They Important to SEO

Firstly, what is a sitemap? Sitemaps come in 2 formats. This is for the benefit of the search engines (to help them index your site). A bigger file will help your visitors find out how they can find resources on your site easier. The other format is the .xml sitemap for the benefit of your visitors and the search engines.

This article will examine the benefits of both .xml and .txt sitemaps.

A sitemap is a must-have. Webmasters should use these sitemaps for every site they have built, especially the more than one level within their structure.

XML Sitemaps

After the sitemap is set up, it is often the case that the search engines will pull your sitemap straight from the XML section of your site. If so, then the sitemap is not organized or relevant for the search engines to spider. Or you should have a default .xml sitemap for your entire site, and then use the unified standard for sitemaps for your directory structure and pages.

I recently had a client come to me for help with ranking some of his inner pages higher because the URL structure was not correct, and most importantly they didn’t have any page URLs pointing to them.

Albeit the pages were only minor I was able to visit this site I could see that a majority of the links pointing to it were site which was promoting sites which were local businesses. The problem was, none of the pages that had the problem had any file names in them that were pointing to the locations they were in.

This could be related to the fact that there should be something like ‘strategic business opportunities in volley stuffing long Island newsletters’ or something similar, and this was all above board, but whatever the reason is, getting backlinks from those parts of the site can’t be good enough, and until Google makes a change it looks like they aren’t going to.

.xml sitemaps is the format used by the owners of www.xml-sitemaps.comsite for allowing search engines to find and follow any links hidden in the file. From Google’s official sitemap page

The primary newbie mistakes

This is probably the biggest one for newbies, not only do you place all your hard work in the Tree, but you also have forgotten about creating a sitemap. The current trend is to automate this with a cron job that updates the sitemap whenever anything changes on the website.

What does this mean for your new site?

This means that you will need to create your sitemap. If you are using an open-source CMS solution, many available plugins can help you create a sitemap. To be honest, once you create your sitemap, it doesn’t matter. Chances are, the search engines will create their sitemap for you anyway and if you have done the basics, it shouldn’t be too hard to tell them where to find the sitemap.

Off-page factors shouldn’t be neglected

From what I can tell from my testing and research, the search engines seem to give very little weight to the number of outgoing links on the webpage or where those links come from.

Instead, high pr backlinks, where the link is coming from, and the anchor text in the link are given a lot more importance. This is probably because it is assumed that a link to my site (that generates PR by the way) would be more valuable than one that was just carrying some advert back to my home page.

The only downside is that this means that it may be difficult to obtain a lot of backlinks that have very high pr. Also, it is something of a chore if you are trying to find places to get backlinks from.

You will probably see that many of the top websites in the search engines have use SEO optimization to rank highly in the search results.

If you were able to get your website onto the front page of Google for a highly competitive keyword, you will find that the traffic is fantastic, and you will probably have a few offers for bulk backlinks as well as other offers to help you get your site onto the front page of Google, etc.

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