How Important Are Site Maps?

Some may think that a solidly built navigation system is all that is needed to get around their website.   The most effective practices for web design in Boston, however, don’t stop there.  For the convenience of your visitors and your sites visibility with the search engines, including a site map is a smart move.

For the purposes of your visitor’s use, a site map is really just a page of links organized by category, following the architecture of your site.  The simpler the layout the better.  The site map should be accessible via one of your site’s navigation systems, so that it is easily found.

For the purposes of search engine spiders, however, you’ll need to provide the same information but in a different format.  Rather than a standard web page, Google for example, looks in the root directory of your site for a file named sitemap.xml.  Yahoo, however, can work with a text file – typically named urllist.txt that should also be saved to your site’s root directory.  Once these files have been created, the search engines can be notified of their presence by submitting the web addresses of the files to them.

But What Does It Do?

Clearly the site map is a convenience for human use and increases a site’s usabilty.  For search engine spiders, however, a site map can make sure ALL pages in your site are cataloged and new pages are noted.  In a nutshell, your site will be indexed more thoroughly when you provide the search engines with a site map. With that in mind, keeping your site map up to date is a must.

For companies in Boston, web design that includes a site maps is good practice for usability as well as search engine visiblity.

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