Are HTML Sitemaps Important?

html-sitemapIt is my personal belief that an HTML sitemap is one of the most important search engine optimization tactics a webmaster can use. It is arguably the most effective tool to distribute internal link juice efficiently within your website.

So what is an HTML sitemap? It is an actual page of your website that outlines the complete structure of your site, and provides links to all the pages within your site.

html-sitemap-example

It is important not to confuse an HTML sitemap with an XML sitemap. An XML sitemap also outlines the URL structure of your website, but the  XML format is understood by search engine bots only. As a result, an XML sitemap only consists of a bunch of code.

If search engine bots are not visiting or indexing your pages correctly, then an XML sitemap will be useful to correct those problems. That said, if you are not having indexing problems, having an XML sitemap is not absolutely essential.

The HTML sitemap differs because it is not only valuable for human visitors, as it allows them to find any page within your site quickly, but an HTML sitemap also offers a very efficient way to distribute link juice among the various pages of your website. You can of course exclude pages you no-follow or non-important pages such as the privacy policy.

Tip: Place a link to the HTML sitemap on the main navigation menu or on the footer of your site and you’ll quickly start spreading your link juice between pages.

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