In terms of SEO, including a sitemap on your website is perhaps one of the simpler and more straightforward techniques for speeding up the time it normally takes search engines to crawl the pages and index new or altered content: something that although wouldn’t happen instantly would still be actioned faster than a site without one.
Ideally, sitemaps should be linked to every page of your website which will aid search engines when it comes to indexing but only as long as all your links are working correctly. Broken links will weaken the effect of a sitemap and result in search engines indexing only a few pages instead of the whole site.
If your website contains hidden or archived pages then a sitemap should ensure that search engine bots will still reach them even if your internal link structure isn’t fully up to scratch, however, whether you have a sitemap or not, broken or faulty links should always be repaired as soon as possible as matter of course anyway.
Aside from the SEO aspect, sitemaps are organised so every page title can be easily found at a glance and allow visitors a much smoother ride in terms of navigation especially on larger sites which consequently will make them much less likely to leave in frustration because they can’t find what they want.
As with all business websites, owners need to use every means at their disposal to get the best out of them in order to remain competitive and keep their websites visible to search engines, and any businesses not currently using a sitemap should have a word with their web designers to find out what further benefits they can offer.
Until next time.