A sitemap serves as a navigational guide to your website by performing two fundamental and distinct functions:
There are fundamentally two main types of sitemaps:
The keys differences between the two are:
By and large it makes sense that if you can only have one sitemap then you should choose an HTML sitemap, which improves both the usability of your site and your SEO at the same time. However, ideally your site should feature both. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, many eCommerce sites have a substantial number of web pages, which would make a fully comprehensive HTML sitemap very large and difficult for users to navigate. So while it wouldn’t be practical to include every single page in an HTML sitemap, you could nevertheless use an XML sitemap to catalogue every single page on your site.
Secondly, XML sitemaps are now regarded as the modern way to submit a site to Google, in preference to filling out the form on its website submission page. They are also becoming increasingly important to other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing.
Finally, XML sitemaps allow you to specify additional useful information that HTML sitemaps cannot offer. For instance, you can indicate how often a page is updated or provide the time duration of a video clip.
If you have both an HTML and XML sitemap then your HTML version needs to fulfil the primary objective of being a user navigation tool. You can also help users get the most out of your HTML sitemap in the following ways:
Every eCommerce website from Rapid Web Services comes with an automated XML sitemap as standard.
This means that whenever you change your site content the system automatically updates your XML sitemap for you. In other words, it takes care of a key routine SEO task, so you don’t have to.