Most small business websites are simple affairs, with a limited number of pages and maybe a blog (rather like this site!). A sitemap might seem like an unnecessary addition, particularly if your website is clearly organized with properly linked pages, but you can still benefit from using one.
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a file listing all the pages of your website and detailing its structure. These are useful to people browsing your site, especially if it’s particularly large, but they’re mostly used by search engine crawlers as a way for them to quickly index your site’s content. For that reason, Google recommends installing a sitemap to boost your webpage’s search engine optimization (SEO).
How to create one
Most web hosts don’t have built-in functionality, so it’s something you’ll have to create for yourself. WordPress-hosted sites can use a plugin like Yoast SEO. Alternatively you can manually generate a sitemap from websites like XML-sitemaps.com. Generally speaking a plugin is preferable, as it will create and manage the sitemap for you, automatically updating the map each time a new page is published. Using a manually generated map means you’ll have to update it yourself on a regular basis as you add content to your site, otherwise it will become obsolete.
It seems like a waste of time
For a small website, a sitemap might seem like a vanity addition, but it can still add significant SEO value. As well as telling search engines to index your site, it also provides valuable metadata on how to index the site. It does this by providing information on the site’s content. It also removes the reliance on crawlers finding the site. This is of significant use to new websites that don’t have many incoming links.
Submit your sitemap to search engines
Once you’ve created a map, you need to tell search engines about it. Submit to Google and Bing to speed up the process. This will make it appear faster in relevant search results. Google’s Webmaster tools also provide error reports if there are any mistakes in the map.
It doesn’t matter if your website is small, new, or well organized. Creating a sitemap and submitting it to search engines is a simple and effective way of boosting your SEO.
If you’re not sure how to start, pick a plan and let TechTe.am’s friendly experts create and install a sitemap for you.