A sitemap is a website’s most under-appreciated part.
Basically, it’s a file that lists all the pages you have on your website and lives on your server to help the search engine crawlers understand your site’s structure and find your content.
You can think of sitemaps as a blueprint or a table of contents.
Without a sitemap, you’ll have a hard time building and designing your website because you don’t have a clear understanding of what pages are necessary.
If you have one but it’s poorly designed, it’d be impossible for your customers to find essential information and may be enough to send some of them away.
To know more about sitemaps, you can check out this page.
If you want to build a good website sitemap, make sure to keep the following sitemap tips in mind.
1. Audit Your Current Website
One of the first sitemap tips to build a good website sitemap is to run an audit of your current website.
If you don’t have an existing website, it doesn’t apply to you.
However, if you do have one already, auditing it will let you gain a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not working well.
Other than that, auditing your website will help you know the value of your web pages and how they’ve been built.
It’ll also let you analyze how every page is being utilized and how crucial each one is.
Lastly, auditing your website will show you where the pages are linking to, how targeted keywords can boost your search rankings, and what pages drive the most traffic.
It’ll help in making informed decisions in terms of building your new website and sitemap.
2. Add No More Than 200 Links
Although it’s okay to add more links to your sitemap, doing so might not be in your best interest.
The reason behind it is that search engines could assume you’re a link farm and tank your ranking.
Moreover, website visitors will find it hard to locate a particular category they want to find.
Therefore, determine your website’s hierarchy and limit your links to what’s critical to enjoy higher rankings.
Your website analytics can help you know which pages your website visitors want to see.
3. Ignore Fewer Elements
You don’t have to add every element on your website to your sitemap.
For instance, if you have a search box, you don’t have to link or mention it on your sitemap page.
If the link doesn’t lead to a page with valuable content, it shouldn’t be included in your sitemap.
4. Keep User Experience In Mind
Never forget about your visitors and their overall user experience.
It’s a crucial step in the process since establishing an effective buyer’s journey can determine whether or not you reach your goals.
In this case, know your primary and secondary customers. Know their needs and make a path for every visitor.
Also, define a flow that would avoid any redundant pages.
5. Decide On Your Website’s Architecture
If you know your customers, it’s time to consider your website’s architecture.
It’ll define the correlation and structure between all pages and areas on a website.
Plus, it’ll take into consideration how your visitors will navigate their way from your website pages.
Depending on your goals, decide what’s the most efficient and effective way for visitors to reach them.
To do this, put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and gain a perspective of what makes sense as they make their way through your site.
6. Check For Any 404 Error
If you have time, click every link listed on your sitemap.
Although the process can be time-consuming, it allows you to check if all of your pages are working.
It also helps avoid higher bounce rates.
Even if it’s a good idea to explain why there’s a 404 error on your website, do your best to remove any broken like from your sitemap to avoid any inconvenience to your customers.
7. Take Advantage Of Annotations To Improve Your Sitemap
Using annotations is one of the important sitemap tips.
To build a good website sitemap, use annotations to improve your sitemap and clarify information.
Since your sitemap is a planning tool, you can include parts of your website that would be rolled out on content or timeline you’re working on with collaborators.
Noting such things that need planning or special considerations will maximize the effectiveness of your sitemap.
8. Include Some Social Media Links
As social media continues to be more popular, most sites see more traffic from having social media links.
This is why marketing plans often include social media campaigns to drive website traffic from big platforms.
While you don’t want the sitemap to include links from outside your website, you may include a sidebar to your social media accounts.
It enables your visitors to share your products and services easily on different social media platforms.
9. Check For Any Duplicate Content
When creating a sitemap, spend enough time checking it carefully and look for any duplicate content.
The reason behind it is that duplicate content may confuse your website visitors and weaken the content’s power of both pages.
Once you notice duplicates, combine them into a single piece or just remove duplicates from your sitemap and focus on the main article to which you’d want to drive traffic.
10. Include A Legend
Another tip to consider when building a good website sitemap is to include a legend to let your visitors know what everything means, particularly if you’re planning on sharing your map with your team or customers.
A legend is a crucial practice even for internal use as it keeps things easy to read and well-organized.
11. Keep Everything Simple
Never try to make your sitemap overly cute or complicated. While it must be visually pleasing and should match your overall website design, the last thing visitors want is a map that’s complicated and hard to navigate.
Make your website hierarchy clear and save these creative design elements for your landing pages and other website features.
Building a good website sitemap is a straightforward process.
It takes time and careful planning to organize in a way that makes sense for the search engines and your website visitors.
Adding a sitemap also helps search engines understand what your website has to offer and can serve as a guide.
It helps ensure that you’re staying within the categories you’ve assigned your website and within your niche.
Hope above discussed sitemap tips will help you to organize your website and get the best result in ranking.