This is the third in our 5 part series. last time we talked about how some web sites make it hard to contact you. The first installment (Make it Hard to Contact You) can be read by clicking here. The second installment (Stay Above the Fold) can be read by clicking here. Now, for Rule #3, Forget About Your Site Map.
Rule # 3. Make a web site, but don’t make a Site Map.
You go through all this trouble to create great content, launch the site and then realize that Kevin Costner lied. If you build it, they won’t come.
Well, not all on their own anyway. Visitors need help. That's what search engines are for. What no one may have told you is that search engines need help too, and that's what they use spiders for.
Search engine spiders are what the search engines send out, little programs that crawl through a website and report back to the search engine what they find. You can make their job easier.
Simply put, the search engine has to be able to find you if you want people to find you on search results like yahoo and google and bing, etc.
And one of the fastest and easiest ways for that to happen is to put a Site Map page on your site. Search engine spiders love it. So if you don’t have a site map page on your site, the search engine spiders will stop crawling your site and just give up and go on to your competitor’s web site.
The Site Map page is just a page that lists the names of every one of your web site pages with a link to each one of them too. It is kind of like a map to a city, the city being your web site pages. The site map makes it easy for search engine spiders to find and "index" every one of your pages, meaning to tell the search engine what the content is that is on each web site page.
And when the search engine knows what is all over your web site, that increases the odds that your content will be fully considered when someone runs a search to find you and your content. That means you rank higher in search results and all of your pages get put into that great Mr. Googler in the sky who answers all the search inquiries (or Ms. Yahoo, or whatever they want to call it).
Why make it hard for search engines to read your content when you can make it easy?
If your web site doesn’t have a Site Map, you look like an unorganized buffoon and that’s worse than looking like an ordinary buffoon (not that there’s much difference anyway).
And the links on the Site Map remind me of another common problem, but we’ll talk about that next time in part 4.