Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Best Methods Used for Optimizing HTML Sitemaps

The importance of site maps for a website can not be ignored. A sitemap helps both the visitors as well as the search engine crawlers to navigate a website in an efficient manner and to find the most important content of a site without putting in any efforts. Therefore, it is crucial to focus on sitemaps. Although every site may have a sitemap these days. However, most of the sites do not have a well optimized sitemap. Be it a small website with fifteen or twenty pages, or a large ecommerce website with hundreds of pages, it is not really surprising to find many such sites without optimized sitemaps. Read further to find out 10 best methods for optimizing your HTML sitemaps.
1. The sitemap should be located at the root of site's hierarchy:
This is very important. You should locate the sitemap at the root of the hierarchy in order to make the optimum use of it.

2. Create multiple theme based sitemaps: By doing this, you can promote content themes, and communicate your site in an effective manner. Themed sitemaps not only help users to navigate to the content, but they also let search engines know what your site is about. This is possible only from  a reputed web design company.

3. The number of links on your sitemap should be between 100-150: If you have a large website, then you should create multiple theme based sitemaps. Search engines consider the number of links on the site mp. In fact, according to Google's guidelines, if a website has more than 100 links then the sitemap should be broken into separate pages.

4. Keywords should be descriptive and relevant, with rich anchor text: Having rich anchor text and relevant keywords is a must while creating a sitemap. This is because it is likely that your sitemap inherits PageRank from the homepage. Therefore, it should be an authoritative page. By including keyword rich anchor text you can improve the inbound link quality score for the page being linked to. This is one of the key factors considered by search engines in their ranking algorithms. Therefore, you should include keywords in the text that features on your sitemap.

5. Keep updating your site map: It is important to keep the sitemap updated. Keep checking for broken links and replace them without any delay.

6. The sitemap should be organized in a logical manner: It implies that the themed content should be organized in such a manner that it makes it easy for users to navigate through the site. By directing users through a logical navigation map, you can ensure that users will engage with the most important content of your site.

7. Ensure that your homepage has a link to your sitemap: It would be better if you place the link to sitemap near the top of your homepage. You are certainly not going to gain anything by placing the sitemap at any other location and making it difficult for users to find it.

8. Do not use hidden texts or hidden links: Avoid the use of hidden text and hidden links at any cost. It will get you penalized from search engines. Also, do not use a very small font. In case you want multiple pages for your sitemap, then you should plan your sitemap strategy meticulously.

9. Set the frequency and priority of crawling activity:  Setting the priority and frequency of crawling activity will ensure that search engines crawl the page regularly. This will ensure that whenever you update your sitemap, search engines will crawl and index the content.

10. Make use of video sitemaps: You can also use video sitemaps to let search engines know about your video content.

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