XML Sitemaps

Digital State Consulting Discusses the SEO benefits of Sitemaps.

When it comes to ranking your website well across all search engines, there are two key factors which should be concentrated on:
• ensuring that the website is SEO friendly
• providing the visitor with a simple yet enjoyable user experience

There isn’t much point in trying to rank a website that’s SEO friendly if the user experience feels terrible and vice versa because these can both have positive and negative effects towards each other.
There are two different types of sitemaps, which can often lead to confusion over which one a website needs.

The simple answer is both, as the two benefit your websites in different ways and this is one of the key checks that we perform in our SEO Technical Audit.

HTML and XML sitemaps

HTML and XML sitemaps are often confused with each other, however, they both have very different purposes.

An XML sitemap is used by search engines rather than visitors. It will be a collection of URLs that all relate to the same domain and is published on an .xml document with the purpose that it provides an effective and efficient way for search engines to crawl and index content from your website. This would normally submitted to Webmaster Tools to prompt this crawl.

The other type of sitemap, the HTML version, is a page designed for visitors that consists of all of the major URLs to assists the visitor navigate throughout the website.

Depending on the size of the website, this sitemap may include all links or stop at a certain tier of the site’s architecture.

For example www.amazon.co.uk would not list every URL because they have millions of products that would need to be listed which, apart from being far too much information for a single webpage, would defeat the whole point of having a HTML sitemap.

HTML sitemaps are considered to be more effective when dealing with clients but, from the perspective of SEO, the XML sitemap is central to optimally managing a site’s relationship with Google.