When you first make a website, it may seem easy to access each of the pages from the single drop-down menu. However, as more and more pages are added, and complex additions occasionally result in a web page that isn’t linked from anywhere, you really need a central list of every single link in your website so that you can keep track of it all. This is what an HTML sitemap does: it is the central blueprint of your entire website.
An XML sitemap is specifically written to help search engines make sense of your site, while an HTML sitemap is written to be user-friendly; if a visitor to your website clicks on the sitemap, they are most likely trying to find a particular page that isn’t included in any easy-to-access links on your main landing page. While the XML sitemap can be useful, developing an HTML sitemap also aids SEO while giving your visitors a convenient “table of contents” at the same time.
Generating an HTML sitemap isn’t hard within your web hosting and management software, but the value you can add is in the organization. By having someone create an organized, tiered system of pages – one where people can easily add and organize pages in the future – you make your website more usable by the viewers. It’s also good practice to “prune” pages that don’t connect to anything else, as well as good practice to notice missing spots where you might draw much more web traffic, if you had a page there. The sitemap allows you to look at the big picture of your site and make improvements.
How HTML Sitemaps Impact SEO
Remember that search engines are always “crawling” websites: exploring the content of your site and categorizing it in ways that help them show it to searchers at relevant moments. When you have a strong HTML sitemap, the crawlers can “understand” and categorize your website faster and easier. When the crawlers know how to categorize your site, this can increase your search engine visibility.
Internal linking is both a strong marker for SEO purposes and a way to maximize the time that visitors spend on your site clicking through to other pages. An HTML sitemap links your website together, so it increases your internal linking for SEO purposes, creating a more interconnected website. It also makes it easier to navigate your website, which is considered a “plus” in the world of SEO.
What HTML Sitemaps Do For User Experience
Having HTML sitemaps on websites isn’t just to up your search engine visibility, however. Users of the website also find it helpful to see the full organization of the website when they access a sitemap. They find navigation easier, and they feel like your site is more organized, which reduces their frustration when searching for something in particular.
Having a sitemap also helps you more directly meet your customers’ needs if they cannot find something. With a clear sitemap, you can check for items that are missing on the site and make sure they are added, which helps the end user to get what they were looking for. Next time, because the information is added to the HTML sitemap, it will be easy to locate and the effort of creating that resource need not be duplicated simply because of a confusing tangle of web pages.
SocialSEO Can Help
Still interested in improving your HTML sitemaps but want some additional guidance? SocialSEO offers professional digital marketing services. Reach out today to be connected to an expert who can help you gain the HTML sitemap advantage.