Why is Sitemap Important to my website?

Is Sitemap Important?


Search engines use automated software called "crawlers","spiders" or "robots" to trawl the Internet looking for content to index.

Typically these crawlers are quite passive; they simply follow hyperlinks. Most of the time this works well, but there are a growing number of cases where crawlers fail to find and index important online content. Such cases include content that is:

    * inside databases, usually only accessible via a search form;
    * linked to through dynamic code, eg. JavaScript, Ajax, Flash;
    * obscured in some way, eg. through redirection, framesets, iFrames;
    * presented dynamically, especially using multiple, variable parameters;
    * restricted by user authentication, eg. CAPTCHA, log-in or user session;
    * not linked to at all.

This kind of un-indexed content is sometimes referred to as the "Deep Web" or the "Hidden Web".

Sitemaps - an idea instigated by Google but now supported by all the main search engines as an industry-wide practice - are a supplementary way of listing the content available on a website in a simple, open and "crawler-friendly" format. Sitemaps do not replace existing crawl-based mechanisms, but they enable crawlers to do a better job of indexing a website.

What is Sitemap, Anyway?

In its simplest form, a sitemap can just be a simple plain text list of URLs from your website. It may also be written in a recognized syndication format such as OAI-PMH or RSS.

But most often it is written in XML - following the XML Sitemaps protocol - and can include the following additional information:

    * when each URL was last updated
    * how often each URL changes
    * how important each URL is in relation to other URLs on the site

This additional information allows search engines to crawl websites more intelligently.

You can create a sitemap either by hand, by customised routines, macros or programs or by using off-the-shelf sitemap generation software. A good Content Management System (CMS) should now be able to create XML sitemaps. If you are procuring a new CMS, check that it can - or make it a requirement!
Once uploaded to the website, search engine crawlers can be pointed to the sitemap either through the "robots.txt" file or by informing a search engine via its dedicated submission services.

Just another cents for sitemap!

3 Response to "Why is Sitemap Important to my website?"

  1. Freelance Web Designer November 23, 2010 at 2:25 AM
    This is a best weblog. I average it. You have got a best trade thought of this matter, and so much interest you have got a layout here that is not too flashy, but creates a statement as enormous as what youre expressing. Better job!.

    Freelance Web Designer
  2. DJ_Blondz[Blondelle] November 23, 2010 at 6:25 AM
    @Freelance Web Designer: thank you for dropping by.
  3. Rosendo Cuyasen December 2, 2010 at 2:01 PM
    Nice idea regarding xml sitemap.. thanks

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