Why Sitemaps are Important for SEO


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Importance of sitemaps in SEO

In the quest for search engine optimization, there are a handful of tips and tricks that can help webmasters achieve their goal, Site mapping is one of such tricks and unfortunately, in this age, a lot of webmasters still have their heads in the sand in this regard.


What are Sitemaps?

Sitemaps are visual representations of pages available on websites. A sitemap lists and highlights all the pages and subpages. Just like with regular maps, sitemaps help users navigate their way, but in this case, through webpages. Therefore, leading to a high rate of conversion for the website. They also enable search engines to find, crawl and optimize pages easily. They provide a bird eye’s view of websites which can help visitors feel the complexity and enormity of such websites.


How Do They Improve Search Engine Optimization?

Since Sitemaps list out the pages available on websites, it becomes quite easy for search engines to identify keywords on the sitemap and provide them for users when they search for contents related to them on such pages.


However, this also helps in terms of web indexing. Indexing is the receiving, parsing and storage of relevant data to ensure fast information retrieval. This therefore means that websites that have sitemaps will easily get indexed by Search engines which translates to higher ranking on search engine result pages.


Also, since sitemaps serve as a guide to visitors of websites, they contribute in a huge way to user retention rate as users tend to revisit pages, they find extremely easy to navigate. This resultant traffic is usually impactful in terms of search engine optimization as well.


Are Sitemaps and User Flow the Same?

Though Sitemaps and user flow illustrate page flow, they are not the same, nor do they serve the same purpose. However, they enable webmasters to plan their sites properly and are also great tools for improving usability. For more insight on User flow and Sitemaps, you can read this article which sheds more light on their similarities and differences.


What are the Types of Sitemaps Available Today?

There are two types of Sitemaps: HTML and XML. The HTML sitemap organizes the information about a website structure in a way that enables users navigate through the website seamlessly while visiting it. These days, HTML sitemaps are commonly found in footers of webpages, even though some other websites still have dedicated pages for them. However, having them embedded in the footer of webpages saves visitors the stress of opening a new page or checking each drop-down list in the menu bar of those pages.


XML on the other hand contains information of the website such as structure of the pages on it, backlinks, and internal links, all these in a language that can be understood by search engine crawlers. This process of crawling enables such search engine bots to better understand the website and identify the most important pages. Interestingly, the better a search engine understands a website, the higher the chances of the website ranking high.


Differences between Sitemaps and User Flow

Many designers confuse sitemaps for user flow, but they are not the same. Although their functions may look similar, they are different. Knowing the distinctiveness of each of them will help you know when and how to use them.


Both the User flow and Sitemaps are aimed at helping visitors or users have a seamless experience while using a site. But while Site maps focus on navigation, User flow is concerned with tasks and how much time and effort is needed to get them done.

Below, we explain extensively the difference between these two important tools in digital marketing.


Site Maps

Site maps are a list of pages and subpages available on a website. They are concerned with the general navigation of a site. Sitemaps gives users a panoramic and infinite view of the site. It reveals the complexity of the site and gives a general overview or direction of where to go.


Sitemaps help to guide website visitors in their quest to complete their tasks on a given website. However, they have also been proven to be useful for webmasters as they contribute to search engine optimization. They help search engines crawl websites and access valuable information faster.


The use of sitemap is also important for organizations as it enables the IT team to identify the complexities and know when and where to merge or cut out irrelevancies to give users an unforgettable experience. For the best result, the sitemap design should be so simple and easy.


User flow

This is the track or pathway taken by an average user on a site or app to complete a task. It takes them from the beginning through a series of steps for them to be able to achieve an expected outcome.


User flows are perfect and important for examining how efficient tasks happen in a site or application. Having a user flow template will serve as a guide for you to be sure that the goal of the user is achieved. A user flow template can be in the form of a user flow diagram, this allows for easy user flow tracking.


A particularly good example where user flow is used is on e-commerce sites. If most people visiting the site abandon their cart without making purchase the site custodians might need to examine their user flow by identifying loopholes and closing gaps as well as testing different methods and idea for them the be able to improve the site conversion rate and simultaneously reduce the rate of abandoned carts.

User flow fully examines the simplicity and experience of a user from point A to B. The aim is to show that users have better experience so as not to lose focus in the accomplishment of task. A good user flow experience will enable users to come back as complexities are removed. No one wants to be stuck or distracted in accomplishing a task. Therefore, people download apps that are easy and simple to use more. Having a good user flow is important for a great user experience.

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