The jury is still out on the importance or indeed the relevance of sitemaps for search engine optimization (SEO) in 2020 and beyond. There is divided expert opinion over the usefulness of sitemaps from one Los Angeles SEO agency to another but all agree that they help in faster page indexing by crawlers on large websites.
However, it helps first to understand what sitemaps are and how they work to get a definitive answer as to whether they serve any important role currently and in the future.
What are sitemaps?
Sitemaps are files on a website that contain a list of URLs carrying information on pages that includes a history of updates. Two types of sitemap formats are used, the HTML and the XML both serving different purposes.
The HTML sitemap carries the href tags for searches by users and which link all pages on your website for faster access by crawlers. An XML sitemap, on the other hand, is a standardized format containing all metadata on a page giving a lot more information to search engines than HTML and can work with Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster tools).
How do you add sitemaps?
Ideally, this should have been done at the development stage when building the website. However, one can add later either with external help or internally depending on the type of site you have.
Custom-built websites will require the help of an SEO company that developed it to create a sitemap for you. Websites on CMS platforms like WordPress are easier to handle as they come with their own plugins that you can use to create excellent and dynamic XML sitemaps.
What makes sitemaps important in 2020?
Any digital marketing agency will tell you that large online stores will stagnate every few hours due to an exhausted crawl budget. Crawl budgets limit the number of pages that Google bots can crawl within 24 hours and no doubt online stores have pages in volumes beyond this limit but which are vital to business.
A dynamic XML site mapping will increase the crawl budget with a direct impact on SEO. With businesses increasingly moving online, the importance of sitemaps to SEO cannot be overemphasized.
Sitemaps help optimize website links
Bad internal linking protocols can lead to poor indexing of a site’s pages by search engines. Whereas fixing the bad links is the solution, it might take time before noticing the lapse in the internal structure.
If however, you have a dynamic XML sitemap, Google bots will continue to pick up pages mentioned on it despite having no internal link. The XML will also speed up indexing of newly updated pages for enhanced backlinking.
Keeping your links, both internal and external, current, is a sure way to drive traffic and SEO. Pay special attention to your site’s internal linking strategy as you develop the sitemap.
Whereas SEO is key to a vibrant online presence, it nevertheless needs the enhanced support that sitemaps provide. SEO ranking based on only a fraction of your content pages due to any reason as such does not grow your business at all. Call us on (888) 477-9540 to know more about sitemaps and boost your local business rankings on Google.