Do I Need a Site Map? Ever wondered what site maps are for?

It is highly recommended that you maintain good links on your website, and that you always keep your site indexed. There many ways available for you to index your site A sitemap is a page that lists the links on your site. This makes it easier for search engines to "spider" your website. Links to sitemaps are usually found at the bottom of a web page. Using an HTML sitemap is an excellent way to make sure that your site is up-to-date on search engine databases.

An HTML site map should contain the top-level pages. The sitemap should not exceed 100 links for more favorable views.

There are certain benefits in having a good HTML sitemap. They generally assure that any potential customer will find exactly what they came to look for. The sitemap page serves as a tool for your visitors. They will be more likely to visit your site if they can easily browse and find their way around your website.

Good links ensure that spiders will locate your website easily with each visit (every two to six weeks). This will make your site indexed by the important search engines. This will also avoid your site from being dropped.

HTML sitemaps make it easier for search engine robots to crawl (spider) your website. Pages are located by having search engines crawl them. It is a process that goes through the index of a page, following the links and adding the pages to the database. Problems occur when search engines fail to locate a page, because the links are not accessible.

Here are some suggestions for creating your HTML site map:

  • There are tutorials that can give you a step-by-step guide in coming up with a good website.
  • Ensure that your site map looks good, to make it more pleasing to the eyes of your visitors, and to make navigation easier.
  • Make sure that your site map provides links to the important pages in your website. This way your visitors will not get lost.
  • Make the link to your site map visible on your home page.
  • A site map is a table of contents of your website. It should list all of the different sections of your site.
  • Each of the pages in your site map must have a hyperlink to its respective URL.

Having an HTML site map will help you in maximize traffic to your website. Just make sure that your home page, as well all the internal pages, are properly indexed. The more links you have to your site, the higher the possibility of getting a good rank among the major search engines. Learn the rules of the game, and make yourself a winner.

Site Maps & Search Engines How does a search engine work?

Two components combine to make search engines work effectively and efficiently: the electronic search spider, and the sitemap.

A sitemap is basically a page that serves as a table of contents, by listing all the links to all documents and files found in a website. It is not a random listing of links, but is organized in such a way that it gives the web user an idea of how all the information on the site fits into an outline or framework.

In SEO language, a spider is not an animal found in your closet. An electronic search spider is actually a robot, which collects data and copies content, which is then stored in the search engines database. This database is where keywords are fed into the search dialogue box. The spider reads the content of the site, and sends another robot to follow the links, and copy the content contained in them.

A sitemap provides directions to search engine spiders, so that they are properly directed to pages on your site, and to the links where keywords entered in the search dialogue appear. As such, a sitemap is a useful tool in search engine optimization. A well-organized site map guides the spider to find the information it needs, and helps the user to search for a particular topic in mind. Many users also use the sitemap to navigate between pages in a site.

What are the benefits of having a sitemap?

  • No page is left unvisited by search engine spiders.
  • They provide faster and easier crawling of your website by search engine spiders.
  • Search engines view all the pages of your site, and not just pages containing random keywords.

Some tips in setting up your site map:

  • Link the sitemap to your homepage.
  • Check all the links in your sitemap.
  • Give keyword-rich titles to sitemap links.
  • Provide a short description for the links in the sitemap.
  • Employ page templates for all pages of your site, to establish identity for your website.

SEO Site Maps

An SEO sitemap is useful in improving the visibility of a website. Search Engine Optimization is the process that aims to create Internet sites that it can be better found by search engines. The objective of SEO campaigns is to have websites appear near the top listing or first page results of Internet searches.

Internet search engines, such as Google and Bing, maintain a very large database of web pages and available files. To do this, they use a program called a web crawler, or spider. This software automatically and continuously surfs content on the Internet. Pages that the spider finds are retrieved and indexed according to a proprietary profile, giving more weight to titles and paragraph headers. Spiders never stop navigating the web from page to page, to index the relevant content of the Internet. In addition to looking at the text of titles and headers, some search engine programs identify meta tags, and also keep a library of keywords or key phrases in the index.

When an Internet user types a query (which is automatically interpreted as keywords), the search engine scans the saved index, and creates a list of web pages that are most appropriate to what the user is searching for. SEO uses the combined techniques of keyword analysis, smart code, good content, link popularity, and website organization to position the subject web page as high as possible in the list of search results by search engines. Web pages displayed on the top of results pages get the most attention, and create opportunity for earnings for businesses with sponsor links.

Search engines usually return a list of results, ranking pages according to the number of Internet sites linked to them. Results can be classified as organic, or sponsored links. Sponsored links are shown prominently because their creators or agents paid the search engine afee to be listed higher. Sponsored links are a significant source of income for search engines. Organic search results are directly related to the keyword typed in the request.

One of the more effective techniques of SEO is the creation of a well-organized sitemap. Since the main pages and other important content are directly linked to a site map, spiders can more easily move through the website, identify the key words of the content, and index these for a search engine. Sitemaps are usually pages filled with links. These are shown as tables or lists, although lists are generally more effective. A simple list layout helps reduce unnecessary tags that might hide your keywords. Some spiders give more weight to the following: heading text, content within link elements, text nearer the top of the page, and the text written for a link.

websites should be designed consistently, and site navigation should follow the flow of the site map. The first section in the site map should be the first link in the navigation bar. In an SEO sitemap, the heading contains title attributes, where more key phrases can be added.

Keywords are generally well-chosen, and written into the body of a webpage. Care must be exercised not to cram any page with keywords and links, or the page will be interpreted as blatant spamming, and not receive a page ranking. While there is no way to guarantee that a website will be shown in the first page listing of "organic" search results, smart and responsible SEO sitemap techniques can effectively be used to move the website higher in the search listing.

Google Site Maps

The Internet has given people the opportunity to make money via the web. There are a lot of search engines that offer a visitor the chance to find products or services which can be evaluated easily and quickly. One of the best is Google.

The benefits of targeting Google (by building a Google sitemap), include the following;

  • Google helps people find specific web pages more effecctively than other search engines, because of better crawl coverage.
  • Google allows visitors to view web pages which match targeted search terms more quickly than other search engines.
  • Since people use Google to search on certain keywords, web designers are obligated to build sites (using Google sitemaps) which focus on these search phrases.
  • Google lets web designers provide specific information to Google about a website, such as the last time it was modified, or how often it is being updated.

Yahoo! Site Maps

Yahoo! is perhaps the best example of a very large website. The most popular and widely used website, Yahoo! is a mixture of two different types of sites: a directory site, and a search engine site. Because of the enormous amount of information that it contains, the Yahoo! site map is an extremely useful feature of the Yahoo! website.

The Yahoo! sitemap serves as a blueprint for the Yahoo! website. Similar to the Table of Contents of a book, the Yahoo! sitemap makes it easier for visitors or users to find specific information or pages on the Yahoo! website. Viewers don't waste time browsing too many pages, because the sitemap gives an overview or a visual outline of the Yahoo! website. Each location is provided with active links, to enable the user to directly move to a specific location.

The Yahoo! sitemap design allows web developers to create Yahoo!-friendly links from their sites, and it also makes it easier for search engine robots (or engine spiders) to find these pages. Because the Yahoo! sitemap improves the search engine optimization of a site, this feature is a valuable tool for online marketers, whose aim is to stimulate and direct traffic to their websites.

Remember, though... the Yahoo! sitemap design can only give your website the "basics." It is important to "rank high" on search engines, so an effective website promotion strategy is also needed.

Here are some additional search engine strategies to employ:

  • Write a descriptive Page Title at the top of your web page, which avoids filler words like "the" or "and."
  • Incorporate descriptive keywords on your home page, along with your business name. This is called "keyword prominence."
  • Include a Description meta tag at the top of the web page. This refers to the sentences (usually a couple of lines, with a maximum of around twenty-five to thirty words, or 255 characters) that describe your business.
These are just some of the techniques that you should employ to get more users to visit your website. The important thing is to focus on keywords, and let the Yahoo! sitemap do the rest.