As if creating, designing and editing content isn’t enough to worry about, there’s also the important task of organizing it. That’s where sitemaps come into play.
A sitemap is a page where you keep a list of all the important pages on your site. Much like a table of contents page, it’s a place where users can find a comprehensive list of all your content and find what they’re looking for. Depending on the size of your site, it’s acceptable to have multiple sitemaps for the sake of simplicity and ease. Remember, adding new pages to your site means that your sitemap should also be updated.
Some myths to keep in mind: Adding a link on your sitemap doesn’t guarantee that Google will crawl it. Adding links to a sitemap is not an easy fix to get your content crawled and indexed. Instead of waiting for it to happen, you have to actually have to go out there and create or earn it. This is where link building comes into play. The more relevant links that are pointing to your web page, the more likely it is to get indexed.
Google also likes it if you have a sitemap.xml file. In here, you’ll keep track of your pages along with a note of how often you update the page (monthly, weekly, daily, never). This is all fine for record keeping but like so many other things they’re so cryptic about, Google doesn’t explicitly say that having an updated sitemap.xml file will help your rankings in any way. Go figure…
There are many tools and free resources you can use to automatically generate a sitemap file for your site. Remember to use them with caution and review before updating. You can use a free broken link checker like Link Sleuth to make sure that every link works before making it live!