Updated: Oct 27, 2020
If you decide to put your energy, money and time into building your business marketing strategy and place digital marketing at priority, you should know that website is a powerful tool in digital marketing.
When it comes to getting your website to rank on search engines, you have to take advantage of as many SEO hacks as possible. Sitemap for your website is as important as any other SEO techniques.
Sitemap: What is it?
Well, when you hear “map”, what do you think of it?
That’s the same for sitemap, but it’s for your website. A sitemap is a way you put each category on your website in an order that is easy for your viewers to navigate.
A sitemap is a list of different pages on your website. There can be an XML or HTML sitemap, which is wayyy to technical that I don’t think you want to know about it. Yet.
Before you get too scared since the definition seems to be so confusing, let’s go through the reasons why we need a sitemap. After that, I’ll show you how to create a sitemap for your website – the simple way.
The importance of Sitemap
Sitemap is as important as SEO. While SEO is for generating website traffic and revenue, sitemap assists search engines to “crawl” through your website to search, index and rank the content of your site.
How to create a sitemap for your website?
Creating a sitemap is basically outlining all the content that you want to appear on your website, and put it into order accordingly.
This is an example of a sitemap. As you can see, we have a homepage with 3 main categories. Then we have many other sub-categories that are related to the main ones.
The important thing is you know how to translate each main idea and subcategory into a diagram like in the example above.
Use a piece of paper (or many pieces of paper, as many as you like!) and draw out your ideas! You can sketch them out with so much space available. Remember to work in landscape orientation since you’ll probably need a lot of horizontal space.
After working out all the details on paper, you can clean it out by putting it onto your computer. Make it nice, clean and easy to understand so that your colleagues and clients can understand it.
Draw out your homepage first since it’s the easiest part. Then you have to ask yourself “What next?”. The next links should be all the main content that you’re going to put on the menu options of your site.
But what you have to remember is that you’re creating a sitemap that is efficient in your SEO strategy.
You have to keep the depth of your website in mind when you do this. The further your pages from the homepage, the harder they are to rank.
When creating a sitemap, you should keep it “shallow”, according to Search Engine Journal. That being said, visitors to your website should only take three clicks to navigate through any page.
This can lead to a better User Experience, which is one of the factors that Google will base on to rank your website. It’s also easier for search engines to “spider” through your content and find the most relevant results, which can help you rank higher.
Prioritize your content from its importance (main menu) then divide them into tiers following a logical hierarchy. Let’s take a look at this example.
As you can see, the About page (top-tier) is linked to Our Team and Mission & Values (2nd-tier), then the 3rd tier is Management and Contact Us, which are linked to Our Team.
You can clearly see that the ones at the top-level navigation are the most important. If you were to put the Management page at the same level as Products or Pricing, it wouldn’t make any sense at all. That’s why it’s at the 3rd-level content.
Likewise, it would be a headache for web users and Google’s crawler to navigate on a website with the Basic Pricing above the Compare Packages.
Remember, you want to set up a website with every page that can be accessed within three clicks. A good sitemap predicts usability issues before launching. Take your time to develop the most suitable website for your business.
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