A sitemap is an interactive table of contents that provides an organized hierarchy of a websites information and helps to inform search engines what URLs exist on a website and are able to be crawled. They are used to establish a website’s purpose, structure, navigation and overall organization and allows Google crawlers to see new content and feature it in the search engine results immediately. Watch the video and learn more!
A sitemap can be an important tool for a web developer in the planning stages of a new website, to help visualize the websites structure and aid in creating a clear navigation trail the end user will follow when navigating a site. A map of your website can be especially helpful for more complex sites that have URLs not accessible through the browser or that contain images and videos. Google crawlers do not read images or videos; if these content pieces are not pointed out to Google, they will not be indexed and therefore not show up in search results. For example, a video sitemap entry can specify the length of the video, file size, video category and subject matter of your content. Sitemaps can provide search engines insight on when the site was last updated and how often the page will be changed. This gives Google the heads up to crawl your site more often.
Creating and submitting a site map to the search engines will help your on-page search engine optimization by informing them right away when new content is created. Benj Arriola, Vice President of SEO gives some suggestions for a more effective sitemapping approach in this video.