What is a good website? The first things that come to mind would be smooth navigation, amazing user experience and wonderful design. But in today’s time and age, businesses and brands cannot really afford to settle for just good, they need to build a great one instead. Bigtrunk has earned its name as a trusted SEO agency in Mumbai as we help brands build a great website which is not just user-friendly but is also optimized to ensure it is more discoverable as per SEO standards. Apart from the various SEO strategies that can help you get traction on your site, a well-developed sitemap is something that is crucial to take your SEO game to the next level.
What is a Sitemap?
A Sitemap acts like a directory for Search engines, where all the important information regarding pages, URLs, videos, and other files are hosted. It also helps the SEO crawlers to identify and categorize files and pages of a website based on their importance.
Types of Sitemaps
Sitemaps can be classified into two types, namely, HTML Sitemaps and XML Sitemaps. XML Sitemaps can be again bifurcated into 4 types – Image Sitemaps, Video Sitemaps, News Sitemaps and Mobile Sitemaps.
An HTML Sitemap helps users and visitors navigate the website with ease. They can be generally found at the bottom of a website in the form of formatted links. Although HTML sitemaps don’t greatly help in boosting your SEO performance, it helps to keep your website organized. In most cases they replicate the links already present in the header or footer. HTML sitemaps were useful when header-based navigation technology was not very popular. Some HTML sitemaps have links to certain specific pages that drive more sales or revenue but are inaccessible through the header or footer navigation.
An XML Sitemap helps Search Engine Crawlers and bots to analyse the website better. It gives the crawlers crucial information about the URLs in the site and their order of importance, by setting different priority to each page – ranging from 0.0 to 1,0. It also indicates to the crawlers about the date when the file was last modified and how frequently the page is getting modified.
Below are some of the types of XML Sitemaps
An image sitemap is used to ensure that the images on your website appear in Google Image Search results. You also have the option to add more properties to the image such as caption, title and geo-location. Just like Image Sitemap, a Video Sitemap helps your videos to be discoverable in SERPs. This sitemap also assists the crawlers in understanding the content of the video in a better way. Information such as the URL location, thumbnail location, title, description, video content location, video player location can be embedded through a Video Sitemap.
A News Sitemap is specifically used to name and tag news websites. There are certain limitations for any news website. For example, the site cannot have live articles which are more than 2 days old. Moreover, there is an upper limit of 1000 URLs for any news website. In case a website has more than 1000 URLs, then you can split them into several sitemaps and organize them using the sitemap index file. The main purpose of a news sitemap is to increase the chances of your article appearing in the news section of Google. Finally, a Mobile Sitemap is used if your website is customized or designed specifically or exclusively for certain mobile devices. Bigtrunk is an award-winning SEO agency in India, where we focus on optimizing your site by analyzing the current XML Sitemap and making the necessary modifications or additions to it so that it performs better.
Although XML Sitemaps have far more advantages over HTML sitemaps, there are a couple of shortcomings in the former one too. XML sitemaps are specifically meant for the crawlers, but there is still no guarantee that the Search Engine will index or even crawl through your website. Only HTML Sitelinks can pass the link authority. There is still a possibility that Search engines will not rank a URL, even if they find it in the XML sitemap.
One does not have to continually update the XML Sitemap as it follows markup rules and are automatically generated. However, it is always recommended to keep checking your XML Sitemap for errors or duplicate URLs that keep showing up due to the automated process.
The first file that a bot accesses when it visits your site is robots.txt. This file contains a list of directions or instruction like the specific URLs you want the bot to crawl or the ones you want it to ignore. The file should have a reference to your XML sitemap which will then direct the bot to crawl through the listed pages or URLs.
Our SEO team at Bigtrunk is constantly looking at different ways to improve the rankings of websites by making the best use of Sitemaps. Feeding the crawlers with the right information is very important to ensure that your website is climbing up the Search Ranking ladder gradually. It is small details like these that can make a Big Difference! Looking for an SEO agency in Mumbai to create the same difference for your website too? Speak to our team today!