Sitemaps 101 – Benefits of and Tips on Designing a Sitemap

Did you ever ask yourself how a search engine works? 

It should be fascinating to find out how this search tool can direct you to several websites that are important to your keywords. Or, have you experienced instances where the relation that supposedly contains your keywords is not precisely what you have in mind?

You probably conclude that for anything that yielded useless results, the search engine would have been wrong.

How does a search engine work?

Two things figure greatly in making search engines work effectively and efficiently: the electronic search spider and the sitemap.

What is a sitemap?

A sitemap is simply a tab or page that functions as a directory by listing all the links to all documents and files found on a website. It is not just a random listing of links, but arranged in such a way that it gives the web user an idea of how all the information that can be found on the site is balanced by an outline or structure. It is like viewing the table of contents of a book, or viewing the material of the “concept map.” of the web.

And what’s a spider?

The spider is not an animal residing in your closet in the SEO language. In reality, this electronic search spider is a bot that collects data and copies content to be stored when keywords are fed into the search dialog box in the search engine’s database. The spider reads the site’s content and sends another bot to follow the links and copy the content they contain.

What aim is served by a sitemap?

Like every other map, a sitemap provides a navigator with instructions. This mainly targets search engine spiders so that they are properly guided to your website and the links that appear in the search dialog for keywords entered. As such, it is actually a helpful method in the optimization of search engines. A well-structured site map will direct the spider when keywords are entered during a search operation to find the information it needs.

Sitemaps have proved to be useful even to web users as an additional beneficial result. Since a sitemap shows all the links to information contained on a website, it allows the user to browse for a specific subject in mind. The sitemap is often used by many users to search between pages on a site.

What are the advantages of my website getting a sitemap?

  1. There will be no page left unturned.
    Going back to the purpose of sitemaps, having one would mean tracking and crawling spiders all over your site more quickly and easily. As a result, all the pages of your site and not just the pages containing random keywords will definitely be viewed by search engines.
  2. For site users, faster navigation
    When your location map has been used by a web user, they do not need to go back to the search engine page to check for what they need. If your platform is what they’re searching for, then they’d have a simpler and quicker way to find it.
  1. Potential benefit for marketing
    If it so happens that a relevant product or service provider hits your site, then it will be easier for them to see how best they can place themselves in the various pages of your site as a paid page advertisement.
  2. Encourage more traffic to your website
    If your company website has a sitemap then prospective customers will have an easier time in accessing your new goods and services. In addition, since the sitemap would show all the details available on the web, they would not miss out on any product that might be of potential interest to them.

How are maps of sites formatted?

At least three major types of sitemaps exist indexed, categorical total, and categorical restricted. As an alphabetical listing or directory, an indexed site map appears.

All links categorized into categories are displayed in a complete categorical map; all links identified in a selected category at a time are displayed in a limited categorical sitemap. Except that the former shows all links in all categories all at once on a tab, the complete and restricted sitemaps are very similar, while the latter focuses only on links within the selected category for simpler and less eye-straining viewing.

The most commonly used format is categorical in its entirety. The full categorical format is most favoured by users, based on the findings of a 1999 SURL study on sitemap designs, as it is easier to search for topics within the site and allows easier comparison between and within categories.

A few tips for setting up a sitemap

  1. Link the sitemap to the homepage only.
    This is to make sure the spider begins looking for all the pages listed in your sitemap from your homepage. In this way, the spider does not leave any page unvisited.
  1. For a sitemap, do not go beyond 30 pages.
    Since this adds more pages to the site, large websites with 50 or more pages should not go beyond 30 and may make search engines believe the sitemap is a link farm. This also avoids the overcrowding of ties that may be tiring to look at.
  2. Check your sitemap for all the links mentioned.
    When you click on a connection only to find out that nothing is shown, it can be discouraging. Test your sitemap; to ensure that all links are indeed connected to the correct page, click all links on each page.
  3. For sitemap links, offer keyword-rich titles.
    Keyword-rich titles offer more benefit to your website by properly searching under the correct category. But make sure this connection to the sitemap is connected back to the sitemap (e.g. back to sitemap).
  4. For the links in the sitemap, include a brief overview.
    Doing so will give readers a clearer understanding of what to expect in the connection and save them surfing time.
  1. Be compatible with the other pages of the web in the configuration of your sitemap.
    Use a repetitive style and the same HTML template for all pages to build your website’s identity and character.

Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals of sitemaps, maybe it’s time for you to develop one for your web.

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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of any specific technologies or methodologies or endorsement of any specific products or services.

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Oliver Bugarin, a dedicated blogger and skilled content based in Makati City, Philippines. His passion thrives in crafting captivating articles spanning the domains of travel, tourism, business, information technology, and financial technology. With a keen eye for detail, he extends his expertise to empower professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, and growing enterprises in establishing and nurturing a formidable online presence. Through strategic content creation, Oliver contributes to building strong brands and fostering business growth in the digital landscape. Contact him at