Do you need a sitemap?
You’ve probably seen Sitemap links, often in the footer menu of a site, that link to a page listing of all the pages and content on a site. You may think these are only for large sites with a complex structure, to help visitors find some obscure chunk of content. But actually sitemaps can be of benefit to everyone, no matter how large or small your site.
Why create a sitemap?
It’s not required to create a sitemap. And if your site is small and easy to navigate you might think well why bother. But sitemaps are great tools for informing search engines about your site. They are submitted to google and other search engines for page indexing, which is , especially important if your site is new and google knows nothing about it.
“Consider creating and submitting a detailed Sitemap of your pages. Sitemaps are an easy way for you to submit all your URLs to the Google index and get detailed reports about the visibility of your pages on Google. With Sitemaps, you can automatically keep us informed of all of your current pages and any updates you make to those pages. Please note that submitting a Sitemap doesn’t guarantee that all pages of your site will be crawled or included in our search results.”
-from Google Webmaster Tools
A site map also shows the architecture and navigation of your site. It can be useful to visitors for finding content, although most would probably look first for a search box on your site, but it can aid you by letting you see all of your content structured in one place.
The sitemap can also contain information about the pages themselves, such as how often they are updated, and how important they are compared to other pages on your site. An “About Us” may be less important than your main product offerings, in other words.
Sitemaps can also be used to submit information on video or image content on your site, telling google what content is in the video, is title and length.
There are tools that can be installed on your site that will build your sitemap for you. Then its just a matter of submitting it to google, yahoo, bing, or wherever you like.