The web is a dynamic entity and your website needs to have a sitemap. The challenge arises when a webmaster realizes that there are two different types of site maps. The XML and the HTML sitemap versions. These sitemaps will play roles that are almost similar, but they have different targets. The HTML sitemaps revolve around the human user, while the XML are meant to work with search engines.
Sitemaps help to identify the number of pages on a given website. When you create a sitemap, you are presenting search engines with a collection of all the pages on your website including the URLs that the spiders might have missed when crawling. You can use tools like the best rank tracker to assess the impact of sitemaps on your site’s SEO performance.
With an HTML sitemap, users are bound to find the content they are digging up for. HTML is a simplified page on your site that explains and displays the structure of your site. Usually, it comes with a run down or a hierarchical listing of pages that make up your website. Your followers or users can reference this page, if they encounter difficulties when searching for specific content. The search engine bots will visit this page but it’s meant for the human reader.
The XML sitemap will facilitate Google’s page search on your website. The XML sitemap that can be relayed through the webmaster tools will make it easy for Google to note all the pages on your site. The use of a sitemap file is an ideal way of telling search engines more about your preferred URL version to use as the acknowledged option.
Are There Differences?
One of the notable differences between XML and HTML Sitemaps is the automatic update aspect. The HTML is designed for user navigation. It’s not possible to update automatically. On the other hand, the XML sitemap is designed for search purposes, and it can be automated under specified intervals. It helps link webmaster tools with new posts.
The main purpose of linking HTML sitemaps from every page is to make the user experience easy. For a sitemap to be effective, the user should have no difficulties finding the sitemap. You can then use it to locate the requisite info. When you create HTML sitemaps in this sense, you need to consider all categories and sub categories. You need to be reasonable with the number of pages to create for a given sitemap. If you have a huge info rich site, you can keep them under 200 and less for smaller sites.
You will realize that XML and HTML sites can cover different agendas, but have the same objective. They ensure that your content is visible. As such, there is a need to channel the right resources and focus in creating the two. You need to create XML perfectly such that the search engine will find your content. Also, make sure that the HTML sitemap is well designed to enable users to locate your content. As a combination, the two will help Google in carrying out a dedicated crawling process.
There are webmasters who will tell you that creating the XML sitemap is complex. On the contrary, it’s one of the things you can do without complications. You only need to understand the workings of a site generator and some it basis. You have Google to refer to since you will have a well explained, step by step guide on how to go about it.
HTML or XML Sitemap?
Webmasters seem to struggle when it comes to using HTML or XML sitemaps. The simplest answer to the question is both. You want the search engines spiders to know where they are going. The XML sitemap will expose your internal pages and link them in an efficient way. If you intend to have many posts, you need to make sure that Google can discover them even when you haven’t linked such posts to the homepage.
The HTML sitemap is equally important. You probably know your website in and out, but not everyone does. You need to make it easy for users to know what your page is all about. Remember, you need to make site navigation easy. With an HTML sitemap in place, a user only needs to visit the map and with one click, they will find whatever info that was previously difficult to locate. You will get the benefits since it’s easy to find out how your users are interacting with your website.
Distinguishing the XML and HTML sitemaps doesn’t require rocket science. The two sitemaps enable search engines to crawl your site helping users and bots to get a clear overview of your website. You can’t possibly ignore these sitemaps and expect to reap SEO benefits. You can get penalized for creating sitemaps, but there is evidence that they do more good than harm if they are part of your website.
If you have a new website, or you own a large site where the content isn’t liked appropriately, you need to incorporate a sitemap in the mix. Assuming you have done your research and identified the main differences between XML and HTML sitemaps, there is a need to capitalize on both. You will rest assured that users and bots can locate you. It’s good for your SEO. There is no point for users locating your website only to realize it’s not navigable. With XML and HTML site maps, you will be hitting two birds with two stones of a kind.