Site Maps can be a great tool for making search engines crawl through your web site in a much more effective manner, thereby helping you get more pages indexed, and ultimately getting you more visitors. Most people know what site maps are, as they can be seen on many of the major websites, although for those who don¡¦t, ¡§a site map is a page which contains a list of all the links within a website, under different categories and headings, just like a table of contents of a book¡¨. Now when a search engine hits the site map page, it gets to see all the links within that website and this enables it to crawl through those pages. It¡¦s just like guiding search engines with the help of a map, in this large universe of internet.
Site maps also help visitors to get an overview of the entire web site, and hence act as a great navigational tool. It helps visitors find specific pages through a single page, for which they might have had to follow several links to reach the desired page. Here are some examples of well designed site maps.
This leads us to the next question, i.e. how should site maps be designed. Designing a site map can be as simple as designing any other static pages without any pictures, graphics, etc. But all effort should be made to keep the structure logical and simple. Its best to browse through the web, and check out a variety of site maps before you decide on what kind of structure you want to follow.
Here are some things you should keep in mind, before designing a site map.
Homepage Link: It is important to give a prominent link from the homepage to the sitemap page, so that visitors and search bots can easily hit the site map page. In fact, preferably there should be a link to the site map page from every page of your website.
Categories: It is important to organise the contents into well defined categories, and even sub-categories for easy navigation of the user. Although this doesn¡¦t have direct SEO implications, it makes more sense to the user.
Descriptive Content: It is ideal to add some content describing the links, as search engines tend to ignore pages, full of links. It is also important to use your targeted keywords in your descriptive content as well as in your anchor text.
Anchor Text Link: It is important to use page titles as your anchor text, so that you can increase your anchor text back links. This is helpful for search engine optimization as it increases your link popularity.
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Article by SEO Assistance
Search Engine Optimization
Site map Optimization Technique