How Important are Sitemaps?
I’ve written before (and so have many of my colleagues in the SEO industry) that the simplest way to maximize your SEO strategy is to constantly work on adding keyword rich content to your website, and to produce “merit-based” backlinks. Search engines typically build their indexes by crawling links on websites. Search engines discover and catalogs web pages link-by-link. To get a site listed in the major search engines requires that a webmaster submit the home page URL to the search engines and then sit back while the search engines crawl the site to discover what pages exist.
It’s the “sitting-back” part that most website owners struggle with. I’m surprised at how little awareness there is among webmasters about the importance of a sitemap. Visit, www.sitemaps.org, to learn the definition of a sitemap and the standard for creating and publishing sitemap XML files. A sitemap XML file is basically a listing of all pages on a website, including some basic metadata about each page. A properly-created sitemap can be submitted to a search engine that supports the sitemap.org protocol to help the engine accurately build its index.
To my knowledge, Google was the first of the major engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft) to offer webmasters a way to submit a sitemap. Once Google has validated your sitemap, you are assured of accessing valuable information about your website including the keywords people click through to read content on your website, the number of links your site has (internal and external) and if there are any broken links, Google’s webmaster service will also tell you this. Of course, more information is available from Google’s webmaster service.
Visit Google’s webmaster service visit for more info.