Definition: An overview of the pages within a website. It can include every page of the website or just the pages for major categories and subcategories of the site.
So now we know what a Sitemap is, but what’s its purpose in regards to SEO and why does your site need it? Let me tell you about it!
The purpose of a Sitemap is so that Google can see all of the pages that are on your site that they may have missed before. Sometimes the Google crawler doesn’t see all of the URLs that a site has. By having a Sitemap, it is guaranteed that all of your URLs will be discovered.
It’s also useful to have when you want specific content to be found using metadata. Such content includes mobile sites, images, and video. Except that it doesn’t stop there. For a video, it will show how long it is, the type, and how family-friendly it is. For an image, it will tell users (and Google) about what the subject is and if it’s licensed.
Why You Need It
When explaining what Sitemaps are, Google suggested that sites that are either dynamic in content, are new with few links pointing to it, or have a lot of content pages that are not well linked that you should use a Sitemap.
They also say that they are useful in telling how often pages are updated, when pages were last modified, and how important each page is. This information helps Google crawlers know how often to crawl your site and its pages.
So why does your site need it? Simple, Google likes it. And what Google likes, we like. Or at least we pretend to like so that we can be in Google’s good graces.
For more information on Google crawling and getting your site in tip-top condition, check out Brandon’s article Look out for Robots(.txt)!