What is the difference between user and search engine site maps?
A user site map is a webpage that is created to help the users navigate and easily access all the webpages within a website. An example is the WEB SWIFT SEO User Site Map. A user site map will often include links to the various webpages to help locate a websites array of content. They are important for enhancing the user satisfaction and engagement on sites with a large number of website pages. Especially when webpages are not included in the navigation menu a user site map can really help to improve the UX design of a site.
A search engine site map is a XML file that the search engines use to crawl through a website and find all the webpages. XML sitemaps are very important for SEO and help to ensure that search engines index all of a websites pages. Essentially a XML site map is a map of all the URL’s within a website that simplifies and speeds up the search engine crawling process.
How to create a user site map
Simply create a new page called ‘User Site Map’ and list all the webpage links that are useful to the user. Categorising the links in a user site map can help to make navigation easier which can also improve the user experience. There may be some benefit to using hierarchy to show the most important links at the top of the page. It’s also a good idea to put the user site map link in a footer or menu so that it can be easily accessed from every page within a website.
How to create a search engine site map
Various content management systems have different ways of implementing the XML Sitemap. A lot of hosted solution will automatically generate the XML sitemap file. WordPress requires a simple plugin that can generate one automatically. You can also generate and customise sit maps online by submitting a website address and then downloading the XML File.
SEO impact of user and search engine site maps
User sitemaps can improve the navigation, user experience and engagement which may be reflected in a websites search placement because it’s viewed as somewhat more popular by users spending more time on a website. It may also increase the click through rate which can also improve positions in the search results. XML sitemaps can speed up the process of indexing webpages to be displayed in the search results. Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) has a function that allows you to submit a XML sitemap to Google and this can also help speed up the process of website indexing.
WEB SWIFT SEO best practice
Both user and search engine site maps are an equally important part of creating a successful website that can be found on the first page of Google and other top search engines. Take the time to create a user sitemap and keep it up to date with new pages and links. It’s important to check that a website has a XML sitemap and that it matches the URL’s within a website. It’s also a good idea to resubmit sitemaps to the top search engines when new pages are created or when existing pages have changed URL.