Using Sitemaps to enhance your SEO

To the untrained eye, a sitemap may well seem little more than a list of pages featured on a website. Look a little harder, however, and the importance of an effective sitemap on the success of your website becomes apparent. Playing an integral role in the efficacy of your SEO, sitemaps alert search engines to the availability of your website and identify which pages should be crawled and indexed to appear in search engine results pages.

When it comes to utilising sitemaps on the biggest search engines around – namely Google and Bing – being able to alert web crawlers to the structure and update of your site is all-important to appearing higher in the search engines and generating greater traffic.

What makes a good sitemap?

The myriad uses of a sitemap – better navigation and visibility, search engine notification, page classification, priorities, etc. – ensure that following best practice is essential. For Google, this means creation of an XML sitemap that should be submitted to Google Search Console (the recently rebranded Google Webmaster Tools). The purpose of using an XML sitemap – as opposed to RSS or Atom sitemaps – relates to the quality of its content. An XML sitemap details every URL on a website, whereas RSS and Atom sitemaps only detail the most recent changes.

When it comes to creating a sitemap, you should remember that the key data is the URL and the last modification time. The better optimised a website and the regularity of its update are important factors to success in the search engines, so important pages should take prominence in terms of frequency and priority.

Generating a sitemap

The process of generating a sitemap to take into consideration frequency and priority of your website’s pages is simple. Resources such as XML Sitemaps enable the creation of a sitemap in a matter of minutes. Simply enter your website, choose the frequency of updates (daily represents the best option), highlight ‘Use server’s response’, and click submit. The website will then create the sitemap according to your requirements and present you with download options and details of how to add to your site and Google Search Console.

The process for verification of your website and sitemap is often the case of adding a line of code to your <head> section, and takes only a few seconds to complete. This is also the same when submitting your sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools.

Find out more on how to enhance your SEO

Your website’s sitemap plays an essential role to your online activity. With creation and verification simple, it’s vital that you’re in a position to notify search engines as and when your website updates. Search engines value fresh content and updated websites, so keep working hard on your site to ensure they’re alerted to your activity.

To find out more about the value of sitemaps, and how you can enhance your overall SEO, contact Whitefish Marketing in Kent today. We’ll be delighted to discuss how we can boost your online success and help develop a marketing strategy for your business.

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