Tips on improving your sitemap
A Sitemap can make it easier for search engines to find all the pages of your website, and improve the position of your site in the search results. Here are some tips to improve your sitemap itself.
1. Submit it to the search engines
To avoid the crawlers simply not finding the sitemap you can just submit its address to the search engines. Some search engines have special services for submitting sitemaps. Check out the possibilities different search engines offer for sitemaps.
2. Keep your sitemap up to date
A sitemap can also tell the crawlers about new or updated pages on your site. Ideally you have a sitemap that automatically adapts to the changes on your website. If this is not the case, make sure you update your sitemap on a regular basis. The more a website ( and its sitemap) changes, the higher you'll get ranked, as search engines love regularly updated websites.
3. Create an XML sitemap for the crawlers
There are two different types of sitemaps. One is a HTML version for humans to understand you site, one is in XML, designed especially for the crawlers. Crawlers can deduct information form ordinary HTML sitemaps too, as they simply follow all the links. But an XML sitemap has also the advantage extra information can be given to the crawlers besides just the links, such as when they were last modified and how often they change. Sitemaps.org defines a commonly accepted standard for creating this type of sitemap.
4. Let your sitemap make clear which URL is important
If you have several URL's pointing towards the same content, a sitemap can help the URL of your choice to feature as a search result. By clearly pointing out the importance of a certain URL in your sitemap, for example by setting the type to bold, search engines will learn which URL to display. The placement of the URL's in your sitemap makes no difference by the way.
5. Use multiple sitemaps
If you have several sections on your site, you can also submit several sitemaps. Like this you'll only need to update sitemaps of changed sections. You can also index multiple sitemaps in a sitemap index file.
6. Use an automated sitemap generator
To save time you can let a program generate the sitemap for you. Especially for large sites this is probably the best solution.