Why your should implement a sitemap for your website

Here are the benefits of using a sitemap to have your web pages and content appear on search engines.

photo by 4ever.eu
written by Aleksandar Debeljak
    

Is it important for you and your business to grow and be seen in the digital world? If the answer is yes, then this blog can help you reach out to more people and ultimately bring in more customers to your company. An important tool to use when you want to appear on the various search engines is a sitemap.

In order to make your website easier to find for search engines it is important to use a sitemap. A sitemap is a file that lists the available pages on your site, making it easier for search engines to locate all the pages on your website. It also helps to show additional information that can be found on the basis of metadata such as last update and the type of content contained on the page, for example image files or movie files.

To clarify further what a sitemap is, here is a link to a page that helps you create a sitemap in XML, XML Sitemaps is one of several sites that helps you create your very own sitemap. A sitemap should be stored in the root directory of your website and you can validate if it exists by visiting www.exempel.se/sitemap.xml.

To create a sitemap in XML, we also need to know what tags are. In this section I am going to show you how to use tags to create a distinct sitemap. The most common tags we will use is the change frequency, <changefreq>, which means that we enter the change frequency of how often the page is changed. The values used are always, hourly, weekly, monthly etcetera. What you need to consider is to set a correct value for the search engines in order for them to return and find new content on your website.

The second tag that is important to use is the priority tag, <priority>, This tag determines which pages on your website should be prioritized. The value goes from 0.1 to 1.0, where 1.0 is the highest value. Here it is important to determine which pages on your website that you want valued the highest to lowest. Usually the home page has the highest value. Always remember that the advantage of a higher priority is that these pages are given priority when search-crawlers are looking for new content. If you have too many high priority pages it can become problematic because search engines no longer know which page is most important to look for.

Here is an example of what a sitemap looks like when I put those two tags into use to give information about my site:

Karta och kompass

In this example, I have now put information that shows when my site will be updated or changed every week and that the page a high priority of 0.8. Since I set a high value on this page it means that the page is probably located in the main menu and easy to find because I gave it a high value.

WebHostDesignPost provides a a more simplified picture of a sitemap that resembles an organizational chart which makes it easier to understand how a website is built up and how the values are set:

organisationsschema

Here we have a clear structure on how a website is built. At the top we find the home page that usually has the highest value. Then the menu headlines which also have a high value. At the bottom we find even more information which is given a lower value because it´s harder to find.

Why should you use a sitemap? Here are a few tips as to why it is important to use this tool:

  • The website has dynamic content which the content on the page changes after a certain time. For example, every week or month.
  • Your page is difficult to read for search engines because of Flash or AJAX content on you site.
  • You have created a new website where there are few links to be able to reach them.
  • The site is filled with a large archive containing many different pages.

I hope I managed to clarify why it is important to make use of sitemaps in this blog. It is important to continue to develop and update your website to continually make it better and more attractive for people who visit it. Should you need assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

About Aleksandar Debeljak

Aleksandar Debeljak is the Head of Content at DLE Solutions who helps clients align marketing communications with business goals. He enjoys crafting content that delivers meaningful experiences to connect consumers and brands. Follow him on Twitter at @aleksdebeljak.