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Using a sitemap leading to treasureThere is an aspect of a website that many people never use and never even consider its existence, but is of huge importance to  good webdesign and website SEO success – the Sitemap. First off, if you do not already have a sitemap on your website STOP READING RIGHT NOW and go make one and put it up. That alone will make a huge difference in rankings for your site because the crawlers will know what they are looking for. Moving on.

Creating a sitemap

There are many ways to go about creating a sitemap for your website.

  • Sitemap Generator
  • Sitemap plugin
  • By hand

The most universal of those methods is to use a sitemap generator. You go to a site that hosts the service and paste your site’s URL into their program and it will output an XML or various other kinds of web oriented files that you can upload to Google Webmaster tools and a sitemap page on your site to help crawlers know what to look for on your site.
If you have a WordPress site you can simply install a plugin that will dynamically update your sitemap every time you make any change to your site; this way you will always be able to take full advantage of crawler indexation.

Other Sitemap Strategies

A tactic that SEO’ers have begun to implement is the practice of using multiple sitemaps within your sites file structure. The purpose being to increase the chance that any given search engine will actually thoroughly index all of your pages. If you have a page indexed the higher the likely hood that you will get traffic to subpages on your site.
What you do is divide up your sitemap into multiple documents based upon how deep each section of your site is going. I.E. have a high level map and a map for all of your categories with all of their subpages.
There has been a recent case study showing an average of a 200% increase in traffic to sub pages due (at least in part) to implementing multiple sitemaps. Again, the rule here is to make it as easy as possible for the crawlers to index as many pages as possible.

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director