Monday, January 26, 2009

What You don’t Know – Can Hurt You, Or Why You Too Need a Site Map.

In the past when I was first starting out in the web designing business. I would build a small website and I really believe a sitemap was not all that important. After all I made sure the navigation was very clear and visitors never had to go deeper than 3 clicks to get to the pages they wanted. It is a really important step to have clear navigation – and the minimal clicks are key as well, but a site map well that was for the bigger more developed websites –those that really needed a lot of structure right? Wrong!!

I hate to admit it but boy was I wrong!

Always wanting (and needing) to learn more, a client and I had a consultation with a major SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consulting firm. I believed we had done everything right but it is always a good idea to double check – then triple check.

SEO (search engine optimization) rules do change from time to time. Usually subtly but these small changes are important. It is actually good to check each year to see what the difference in the SEO rules (algorithms’) are so you can tweak your website accordingly. Once we were in this consultation – and started to converse he asked “I see you don’t have a site map, why not”? I explained to him that I was unaware that a site map was of much importance for a smaller website.

He quickly – told me no it is really an important step in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and all websites should have a xml site map before they start submitting to search engines. I believe those of use who do develop and maintain websites need to learn constantly – and so I took his advice to heart.

I developed a site map for my client a few days after having this discussion and it wasn’t more than a week or so later when I searched Google – the website had been re-indexed and to my surprise we also had the sub-links under it!

When I put my clients website URL into Google they it popped right up on top and underneath had an index – 7 pages listed as sub-links right on Google’s search engine. Seeing the proof such a short time later really did prove that I had been wrong on this issue. Never again – you only have to show me once I have learned.

Seeing the improvement in the Google listing made I wanted to tell you how important a site map is to every website.

It is not just about the .html site map that your web visitors will see but a site map that is developed in xml (that only the search engines see) that can make a difference in your indexing on Google as well as other search engines.

Google Listing Do you have a site map for your website? Is it built correctly?

It is important to have both an xml site map and an .xhtml site map… Not only is it important – It is Priceless...

Pamela Jacob - Artista Design

If you need a Site Map built email me I can help pamela@artistadesign.com