A sitemap, also know as a site map, is a dedicated web page within a web site that lists all of the pages that make up the web site. It is used as an easily navigable arrangement of links which can take you to the exact page you are interested in finding. This can be a handy shortcut to finding a particular web page within a larger web site. Locating and viewing the sitemap is also a good way to save time when you have an exact idea of what page you are looking for.
Although the sitemap is a wonderful tool for navigation it also serves a dual purpose. Search engines tend to give more weight in rankings to web sites which poses a properly formatted sitemap. This is good information because it will help you to optimize your web site for the search engines, which can only mean more traffic to your site.
A site map which is used for navigation should be designed with humans in mind, not search engines. This means you should focus on a logical layout of the links which make up the sitemap. One of the best design approaches is to list the pages alphabetically in columns from left to right. This will make it easiest for your visitors to locate the page link they are looking for.
Typical file extensions for the sitemap designed for human visitors are.html,.htm or.php. It is a good idea to place a link to the sitemap on every single page within your web site. Usually the link to the sitemap will be found in the footer, or occasionally the header of a page. This is both convenient and conservative of the valuable sidebar and content space on your pages.
As for the sitemap which is created for the search engine spiders, it should be placed in the root directory of your web server. For example you would have your protocol, dot, your domain name, dot, your Top Level Domain, slash, sitemap. The file extension you want to use is.xml.
The.xml sitemap will essentially tell the search engine spiders that your site has a handy list of all of its pages, and where those pages are located. Along with the list of pages is metadata information which tells the search engine about how often the page is updated and how important it is within the site in general.
Search engines usually discover your web site pages based on the informative instructions within your sitemap, and then follow the links from them. As you can see, the sitemap is very important when it comes to getting your site indexed and kept up to date with the search engines.
Author: Keri Cooper | Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?What-Is-A-Sitemap-And-Why-Is-It-Good-For-SEO?&id=1193507