Sitemaps offer search engines information about your site’s content and pages. They are files containing most of the web addresses of almost every page people can access on your website.
Search engines use this file to access and index your website. Typically, they use small programs called crawlers to visit your site and go through each of the links it can find. Once a page is indexed, it can be included in search engine results pages (SERPs),
If a search engine wasn’t able to find a link for one of your site’s pages, it won’t be indexed and appear on SERPs. And without a sitemap, there’s no way crawlers will stumble upon them. And forget about manually including links in your content as it’s easier to create a sitemap. Because of these reasons, sitemaps are essential for e-commerce sites that contain thousands of complex and multi-tiered pages.
The use of sitemaps allows you to increase the chances of crawlers accessing and indexing your posts and product pages. Some advanced sitemaps also contain meta-information about your site’s content, and it can further improve how search engines will index and visit your website.
In a nutshell, as your content becomes available in SERPs, internet searches can help generate traffic to your e-commerce site. If you don’t still see the need for sitemaps, here’s a detailed post on why getting sitemaps for your e-commerce site is advantageous.
- Improved Shopping Experience
As an e-commerce site owner, one of your primary goals is to enhance your customers’ experience. Even if they aren’t in your site browsing, they can still find the product they want to buy from you through search engines.
Another way sitemaps improve your visitors’ shopping experience is by giving your customers a virtual map of your website. Note that there are different kinds of sitemaps, but they can be broadly categorized into two: XML (Extensible Markup Language) and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). You don’t need to remember the meaning of these acronyms. All you need to remember are these:
- XML sitemaps are bare simple text files that are geared toward search engines
- HTML sitemaps are web pages that are can be accessed and read by website visitors
The latter type allows people to navigate to this website or your website and find the item, category, or blog post they’re looking for. Sitemaps enable you to achieve this by displaying all products, pages, and blogs on your e-commerce site.
If you have a Shopify store, the HTML sitemap usually creates a product index for each item and collection. This list of items can be made available at your store, and it can effectively help people access the various products they want. In addition, they get to discover new products that you offer on your e-commerce platform. Thanks to such handy features, your customer’s shopping experience is enhanced regardless of the item they need.
- Help Organize Big Sites
Over time, your e-commerce store will continue getting bigger due to an expanding product portfolio or an increase in the number of departments. This growth can also be propelled by an increase in the number of people working for the company. Regardless of what’s fueling your growth, this continued expansion might be confusing for your site visitors. As a result, they have a more challenging time identifying what’s available for purchase and where to go.
If you’re a site owner, sitemaps help you take stock of each page and ensure it has a suitable place somewhere on the website. The useful sitemaps will be very handy for users who’re struggling to find something on your website.
- Automatic Indexing Of New Content
You need to update your site regularly to improve your search rankings. While this may look insignificant, not updating your sitemap might mean your new content takes longer to be indexed by search engines. As a result, you’re less likely to be found by your target audience.
A frequently updated sitemap ensures this isn’t a problem to worry about, as search engines continuously and automatically crawl on every new address that it will see on file. Because of this, your site’s visibility to your target audience is enhanced. In the long run, this will help in quickly indexing your site and enhancing your SEO rankings.
- Identify Areas Where Website Navigation Can Be Improved
Sitemaps makes it simple for search engines to crawl and scan your website. This in turn helps enhance your site’s visibility and relevance.
On the other hand, search engines and their crawlers also act as website monitors. If ever they try to access a link in your sitemap and they received an error, you will be notified through your analytics account.
Sitemaps are essential in search engine optimization as they guide Google bots to read page content, crawl sites, and contribute to evaluating a site’s rankings. It effectively boosts your search engine visibility and ensures that your content—whether it’s old and new—can be searchable on the internet.