A few weeks ago, I covered getting your XML sitemap into Google. In that lesson, I covered the differences between XML and HTML sitemaps. In my opinion, both are useful but HTML sitemaps are much more important.
Whether you have a traditional website or a blog, you should create an HTML sitemap, which is basically a list of all of the pages in your site. When you put the name of each page of your site onto the list, you will make it link to the actual page itself. Basically, it should look something like this, with your pages substituted for mine:
You would of course continue to list each of the other pages in your site.
Why Do I Need An HTML Sitemap Anyway?
Search engines send computer programs called spiders to crawl, in other words check out your site. When they find your homepage, they will follow each link they find – that’s the process they use to find each of your pages.
Creating an HTML sitemap makes it much easier for search engines like Google to find each of your pages. If a person has to click on five or six links to get to a page in your site, Google and other search engines won’t give the page much authority. That means that the page won’t rank well. If you create a sitemap, you can place each page two or three clicks away from the homepage.
The main reason I think HTML sitemaps are more important than XML sitemaps is that HTML sitemaps can help you to make a page rank better. Getting it closer to the homepage will pass more PageRank and authority to it. You can’t do that with an XML sitemap.
Bonus Tip For WordPressers
There is a simple plugin that you can use to create an HTML sitemap for you: Dagon Design Sitemap Generator. It’s a very easy install, here’s the step-by-step:
- Download the plugin. You can find a download link here: Dagon Design Sitemap Generator.
- Extract the plugin. Right click on the plugin with your mouse and select â€˜Extract Allâ€™, â€˜Extractâ€™, or â€˜Extract Hereâ€™. Click next a few times to finish the extraction.
- Upload the plugin to your wp-content/plugins folder of your blog. If youâ€™re unfamiliar with how to do this, visit this lesson that will teach you how to do it: How To FTP Using Filezilla.
- Login to your WordPress admin and go to â€˜Pluginsâ€™. Find the Dagon Design Sitemap Generator and click the â€˜Activateâ€™ link next to it.
- Go to ‘Write’ in your WordPress admin, and then ‘Write Page’. Name the new page ‘Sitemap’.
- Paste <!– ddsitemapgen –> into the code view of the page.
- Publish the page. (If it doesn’t work change the name of the page to ‘Site Index’ – for some reason single word pages don’t work in WordPress sometimes.)
Super, Double Bonus Tip For Those That Read To The Bottom
I kind of hacked the plugin in order to make it work a little better. Once the plugin is installed, it creates multiple pages within the sitemap. It hooks the pages together with ‘next page’ links. I created hard links that appear at the bottom of each of those pages so that it would place pages 2, 3, 4, and 5 closer to the homepage.
In order to do this, all you have to do is edit the ‘Sitemap’ page you made, type 1, 2, 3 (continue this series out according to the amount of sitemap pages that were created by the plugin.) Highlight each number and link it to the page within the sitemap. You will have to go to each page in a separate window to get the URLs.