Sitemaps The Key To Getting In The Search Engines

For any website to achieve its goals there are three things it must achieve: usability, accessibility, and searchability. Without these characteristics your website will be lost amidst the endless numbers of duplicates and competitors. Fortunately, however, all three of these essentials can be improved by including a sitemap. Sitemaps are one of a website’s greatest tools for helping it stand out and appeal to both users and search engines.

Let’s take a look at usability: Usability is one of the most important elements of a successful website. Without it, users will not be able to find what they’re looking for and will be quick to look elsewhere. This is where sitemaps bring their first benefit, by providing a quick, simple resource for navigating your site’s various pages. Users employ sitemaps to find what they’re looking for without having to go through a site page by page. As your site’s usability improves, more users will return to it and overall traffic will increase.

Accessibility is another important element. There are many users who do not view the Internet the same way; some may require screen readers (for the visually impaired) and some may require a site to be translated into another language. These tasks can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if it is done one page at a time, but sitemaps allow users with these requirements to see what is available on your site in one easy location. If a site has extensive Flash and JavaScript elements, these tasks are nearly impossible. However, sitemaps allow these users to see that your site’s content is worth taking the extra time and effort to explore.

Searchability, which is perhaps a sitemap’s greatest benefit, improves search engine optimization by allowing web crawlers to recognize every page on your site. This improves the likelihood of web searches leading to your site as users search for specific keywords. Searchability is especially important for websites which utilize Flash and JavaScript; while these elements add greatly to a site’s appearance and usability, they make it impossible for search engines to follow all of its links. However, with a sitemap a website can use Flash and JavaScript freely, knowing that search engine bots will be able to find each page. Even for text-based sites search engine bots are only likely to follow so many links. By including a sitemap, however, bots are able to log all of the pages in your site, making them available to anyone who searches for relevant information.

The enhancement of these three traits is vital to the health of any website. With all of the detailed knowledge and skill that goes into search engine optimization, ease of use, and accessibility, sitemaps have proven to be one of the easiest and most effective tools your website can use.

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