Google Sitemaps for SEO are VERY important in the overall scheme of things. Ok, if you’ve got a good text-based CSS menu system and the link to and between pages are easily followed, you’re in better shape than some. However, on a larger site, especially with poor menu structure, and minimal use of anchor text hyperlinks to/between internal pages, Google et al may have trouble finding all your content. Worse, your visitors might have trouble finding what they want, and leave disappointed…
HTML & XML Sitemaps can assist in overcoming both those problems. It’s really important that you have a version for each problem… when using WordPress as your Content Management System, there are two plugins that solve both issues very effectively.
Google XML Sitemaps
A Google XML sitemap is an external file aimed specifically at the search engine spiders. These are a less-than-pretty list of pages, with last update, priority and rate of change indicators. The major search engines all agreed to a specification and location format. The convention is that;
- the file should be called sitemap.xml
- it is located in the root directory
- it is referenced in the robots.txt file e.g.; Sitemap: http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml
The Google XML Sitemap Plugin performs the role of automated creation and updates of the sitemap file, according to basic parameters that you set.
An HTML sitemap is internal website file that provides an overview of the internal page structure of the site. This page can be accessed by visitors who are not sure what is where – and also provide additional clues to search engines. The WP Realtime Sitemap generator, once installed and configured, automatically manages your HTML sitemap. The sitemap becomes another item on your menu that anyone can access.