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Using and Creating a Sitemap for Visitors and Search Engines - Websites & Blogs

Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:49 pm
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The sitemap of a website could be thought of as a directory of what exists on that site. Sitemaps should be useful for search engines as well as your visitors, and a good one should be able to explain what your site does easily, assuming your categories or pages are titled properly.

Our sitemap of Search Engine Marketing contains our directory structure, pages (items), comments, images and documents. One of the reasons we like to use christonium.com is because of the extensive and useful sitemap provided with each account.

Usually sitemaps contain some type of organization that tries to explain what information is contained on the website. All too often these sitemaps are for search engine crawlers and not designed for people.

Depending on the type of information your site contains you might want to have a variety of views to present the information in the best possible way.

An example of a simple sitemap of a site with just a few pages.
  • Home
  • Products
  • Services
  • About
  • Contact
An example Product/E-commerce website with perhaps thousands of pages.

On a site like this it would not be a great idea to just list all your products. Since there might be many categories and subcategories, the best way to organize this type of sitemap may be to display your main categories and/or some high-value or popular product categories.

  • Widget 1
  • Products 1 – 5
  • Widget 2
  • Products 1 – 5
  • Popular Product Categories
  • Random selection of products 5 or 10
Amazon has a good example of a sitemap with many products and categories.
A large information web site should present the visitor with a good overveiw.
cnn.com is a good example of a large news site that presents information well.
In terms of code, a sitemap should be clean, with only the necessary code required to create a basic structure.

The links should contain titles.

A good way to separate sections is to use the horizontal rule tag.

Blogs usually do not have sitemaps included with them, but they could very well benefit from this type of organization. If you have a blog, and want to highlight more than just your latest posts then a sitemap could help with search engines as well as promote your older posts to visitors.

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