Written by: Michael Lawrence
The short answer is “Yes”.
Ease of Use for Visitors
Intuitive navigation pleases site visitors and increases the odds of them returning to the site. An HTML sitemap allows site visitors to easily navigate a website.
The sitemap serves as a ‘Table of Contents’ referencing all pages and allowing website visitors to locate pages they are unable to find by searching the site or navigating through site menus.
Typically an HTML sitemap will display a website’s navigation in a bulleted outline, and link anchor text to the page it references.
Search Engine Indexing & Page Rank
An HTML sitemap aids search engines in the process of indexing website pages. The HTML sitemap also improves and distributes Page Rank throughout all website pages.
Page Rank measures inbound links from others sites. Linking from one page of a website to another is not considered an inbound link in Google’s algorithm. What is factored into Page Rank? – The tier level of a webpage.
Tier level is an attribute used to calculate authority and importance of pages based on the navigational structure of the website. Tip: The ideal structure of a website has no more than three tiers.
By linking to an HTML sitemap from the Homepage (Tier 1), the HTML sitemap becomes a Tier 2 page. Now that the HTML sitemap is a Tier 2 page, and the HTML sitemap links to all other pages on the site, every page is now at minimum a Tier 3 page. In the image above, the pages on the Tier 4 level would all become Tier 3 with the implementation of an HTML sitemap.
This best practice ensures that all pages are linked to and don’t end up buried deep within the site where search engines can’t locate them.
A Tier 3 structure is the preferred approach for websites. Additionally, an HTML sitemap guarantees that your site adheres to this recommended approach.
XML sitemaps provide value for all websites. Creating an XML sitemap and submitting it to search engines allows them to crawl the website in a more effective manner.
Search engines use the XML sitemap to find every page on the site, including URLs that are not found through the regular crawling algorithms used by search engines.
XML Sitemaps are especially important for following types of websites:
See/hear Google's Matt Cutts, explain the importance of HTML sitemap
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