SEO Tip #87: Is It Still Important to Offer A Sitemap to Users?

Matt Cutts: Well that depends. Do you want good search engine rankings in Web 2.0? Because I think you do. Site maps are not just good for users. Site maps, even on the page, even HTML site maps can also be a fantastic way to distribute PageRank throughout your site.

One of the best ways to test out how crawlable your site is is to click around within your site and see if you can reach every page. Well if you have an HTML site map you’ve pretty much guaranteed that you’re able to get to every page.

There’s different ways to do them. If you have a ton of pages maybe you want to break your site map down and maybe have it chronologically or alphabetically so you don’t have to have thousands of links all on one page. But a site map can be really useful for users.

In many cases you can find out what the top pages are that you care about, or even if you don’t want to highlight every single page you can highlight the top level categories on your site. So those are some of the factors to think about.

I think it’s always useful to have an HTML site map. On my blog for example I have a sidebar with all the posts from each month going back all the way to like 2005 or whenever I started my blog. And that’s a very simple way that users can go back in time and Googlebot can go back and find all of these individual posts as well.

So I absolutely do recommend having not only an XML site map that you submit to Google Webmaster console but also a site map for your users. It’s very handy. It’s good usability and it can be great for your search results.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.