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Why Your Website Needs a Sitemap for On-page SEO

Garenne Bigby
Garenne Bigby
at DYNO Mapper

Websites that contain on-page search engine optimization are making active progress to gain higher rankings within search results through improved content.

This process is done through editing different components of the on-page content as well as the metadata. Sitemaps are a very beneficial tactic for on-page SEO, but they are generally overlooked.

A sitemap makes for quicker and more frequent process of website indexing. Sitemaps weren't always seen as a must for SEO, but as more webmasters began implementing them, the more their benefits were recognized.

Sitemaps are able to provide strong benefits for on-page search engine optimization and are one of the most reliable ways to ensure that all pages on a website will be indexed by search engines, thus delivering the most accurate results when accessed through a search engine.

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How On-Page SEO Benefits From a Sitemap

In essence, a sitemap is a file that contains a list of all web pages that are on a website, allowing search engine bots to discover and index all of the new content on a website in a more efficient way. Google, or other search engines, will crawl a sitemap to seek information that is related to a specific search query.

The pages that are produced are ranked in a hierarchical order, having the most relevant pages listed first. Chances are that if you run a website, you will be making changes to it regularly with new content or editing existing content to gain a better result ranking through search engines. Ideally, these changes would be recognized as soon as possible so that pages with new content will not reflect old rankings.

Each modification should be helping your brand gain authority on the chosen topic. There are many ways to make a sitemap, some choose to do it manually while others opt to use a sitemap generator like DYNO Mapper for an easy yet effective way to yield the same results.

The most important thing to know about sitemaps and SEO is that they allow search engines to crawl websites and collect information, subsequently making it available to internet users that search using specific terms. A well-made sitemap will enhance a website's search engine optimization efforts substantially, thus raising the ranking of the website in search engines.

These high search engine rankings allow websites to be discovered by many individuals on the internet, leading to increased traffic on the website. Traffic leads to conversion, and conversion is the ultimate goal. Conversion will never happen if the website cannot be discovered in the first place.

What Happens When You Submit a Sitemap

So once you have your sitemap, what happens next? You should be submitting it to search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. When a sitemap is submitted to a search engine, it will decrease the amount of time that it takes for a web page to rank higher in search results.

When a website has not submitted a sitemap, search engines may only find the site if it has been mentioned somewhere else on the Internet, or if a bot has spontaneously crawled the website. Submitting a sitemap is the ideal way to hasten the operation of indexing and ranking pages, and should be seen as a key activity in any SEO crusade to improve search rankings.

When You Publish a Page, Notify Search Engines

The most important step in making sure that your sitemap can be discovered is to submit it to Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing Webmaster Tools, and Yahoo if you'd like. Submitting it to the first two should be good enough, as Yahoo started working with Bing in 2011. Nowadays, most organic search traffic comes from Google but the other search engines should not be overlooked, as they can bring in priceless traffic as well.

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When you routinely submit a sitemap that has been maintained and well generated, you can ensure that your web pages will reach search ranking potential quickly, you can know that the most recently published content will gain the amount of attention that it deserves, no matter how many inbound links there are. Do not rely on being linked from outside sources when you have the ability to bring the traffic in by simply implementing a sitemap.

Larger Websites Using Multiple Sitemaps

Any given search engine will only index the first 50,000 URLs that are contained within a sitemap, so larger websites that have more URLs than that will have to create multiple sitemaps and use a sitemap index file to weave them together. Multiple sitemaps should only be utilized when there are more than 50,000 URLs within your website.

What the Experts Say

"Obviously everyone wants to have great sitemaps and they're definitely useful for us for crawling new and updated content." Says John Mueller with Google in the company's early August Webmaster Central Hangout. He also added that you should be working your hardest to make your website as great as it can be both on-screen and off, by optimizing it to be crawled.

This is easy when you have used a sitemap generator like DYNO Mapper. After your sitemap has been created, you are given many options, including duplicating, exporting, and downloading. Once you have exported the file, it should be submitted to the search engines of your choosing.

When you make the choice to employ a convenient and reliable way to create and submit sitemaps to search engines, you will gain the advantage of having quick and accurate results through these on-page SEO endeavors.

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The reality is that you may work hard on creating content and becoming an expert in an area, but if this information that you put together cannot be discovered through lack of a sitemap, it holds no value. The best results will come from a sitemap that is regularly updated as new content is added to the website this ensures that the content is discovered by search engines and that users will be able to access this content that they are searching for.

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Garenne Bigby
Garenne Bigby
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Chicago Freelancer Developer and Founder of DYNO Mapper.