Why you need a sitemap for your e-Commerce site

A sitemap is a quick access point that allows the visitors on your store site to see the hierarchy of your website and pages in a single glance. It is extremely important that you choose an e-Commerce solution like nopCommerce that allows you to create dynamic XML sitemap since you will be constantly deleting, editing and changing product pages.

Let’s try to understand what a sitemap is

According to Google: A sitemap is a file where you can list the web pages of your site to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. Ideally, if your site’s pages are properly linked, our web crawlers can usually discover most of your site. Even so, a sitemap is a helpful tool that can improve the crawling of your site.

Why do you need a sitemap?

Originally, sitemap used to be considered as a table of content for your website in a HTML webpage format. Site visitors used to use sitemap for finding out the location of any page or to see what pages the website has to offer. But, these days sitemap not only aims at showing the hierarchy of your website but also help the search engines.

Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo search use programs like robots, crawlers, spiders etc. that specifically looks for sitemap to read the location of the pages in order to crawl on your website. One of the misconception in SEO world is that if a sitemap is available for a website, the site owner expects the site to be on #1 rank in search results. Sitemaps does not improve the ranking of your site, it is only a way to let search engines know the location of your pages and what to rank in the first place.

According to Google: You can choose from a variety of approaches to building your sitemap. The standard way to build a sitemap is to make an XML file. You also have the option to create your sitemap manually or, alternatively, you can choose from a number of third-party tools to generate your sitemap automatically.

Here is an interesting video that explain how sitemaps help Google find content hosted on your site: Watch Video

Here are a few useful tips for sitemap

  • It is always a good idea to have an HTML based sitemap along with a dynamic XML sitemap. HTML sitemap can easily be considered as a design centric layout of all the pages that your online store site has to offer. XML sitemap specifically aims for search engines as it reflects the most up-to-date information about the last updated pages.
  • Your sitemap can provide valuable metadata associated with the pages you list in that sitemap: Metadata is information about a webpage, such as when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and the importance of the page relative to other URLs in the site. (Source: Google support)
  • Once you have your sitemap ready, you should submit is to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo search via their respective webmaster tools. Here are the steps to submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools: https://support.google.com/sites/answer/100283?hl=en

nopCommerce supports both of them. An XML Sitemap is a structured format that a user doesn't need to see, but it tells the search engine about the pages in a site, their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated. HTML sitemaps are designed for the user to help them find content on the page, and don't need to include each and every subpage. This helps visitors and search engine bots find pages on the site. nopCommerce combines all the features necessary to improve SEO efforts. A store owner has full access for managing of keyword tags and customized URLs. This will give your site more weight with Google when it comes to ranking your site against similar sites

Author: Lavish Kumar

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