So HK I will admit I like to hang out on the Google Webmaster Central Forums and answer questions, sometimes I can pick up a great nugget of information.  There are many, many Google Products and there is a Forum for each of them, 50 to be exact with many branches in that forum. For example the Google Webmaster Central Forum has 8 sub-folders in it:

  • Learn about building search-engine-friendly sites and diagnosing issues with your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.
  • Learn how to recover from being hacked, how to prevent malware, and how to remove the “This site may harm your computer” warning.
  • Find out more about the tips and tricks of working with images and video content when it comes to interaction with search engines.
  • Problems or questions about verifying your site in Webmaster Tools? Start here.
  • Get help removing information from Google’s search results. Post your URL(s) using a URL shortener if you don’t want your post associated with that URL in search results.
  • Get help with the tools & data available in Google’s Webmaster Tools.
  • Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. They’re a valuable addition to your site but do not control how many or which pages will be indexed.
  • Chat with fellow site owners about website issues not covered above.

HTML SITEMAP QUESTION

I used to be very active on the Google Forums a few years ago and then one day I just stopped. I don’t remember why I stopped, I just did. So this year I have made it a point of getting on there and helping people. The Google Forums are a great place to get answers to questions. They are usually answered by regular people who just want to give up their free time and help out. One of the questions that caught my eye was asking:

Is a HTML sitemap necessary if I have full site navigation on every page under my site banner? Currently many sites have drop downs now that do the same thing as a HTML sitemap but with one less click, bringing those links one click closer to the root. Will this lower the importance of the HTML sitemap?

This is a great question, an HTML Sitemap can give value to many things and help you in many different ways. A fellow user made a great statement about the users, remember Google cares about the Google experience.

Think about your users.  If I can’t find what I’m looking for on a site almost instantly I immediately look for a sitemap – if all your pages can be reached through your navigation then an HTML sitemap may be less necessary, but there’s certainly no harm in including one.  Do you have one at the moment?  If so, have you checked your server logs to see how often people actually look at it?

You can always use your server logs or Google Analytics to see which pages your clients are looking at. Google Analytics is a great way to see which pages your clients are looking at.

HTML SITEMAP EXAMPLE

Some of you might be asking what an HTML Sitemap looks like. The HTMLSitemap is just a regular webpage with all the titles and named links to each page. We did talk about XML sitemaps a little while ago HERE. Remember an XML sitemap is different from HTML Sitemap in that an XML Sitemap is strict code that the crawlers understand really quick. An HTML Sitemap usually shows all the pages on your site on one page. So as a XML site map is for the Search Engines such as Google, Baidu, MSN, Yahoo, and all the other search engines out there. There are many search engines in the world. An HTML Sitemap is for the user to make the website experience more valuable. Google cares about the experience of the user and having a HTML Sitemap can make it more personal for your local business clients. If you would like to talk more about your HTML Sitemap and how you should market your website to your customers feel free to contact us as we want your site to succeed.

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Colton is the Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability testing and defining the products and processes that make Boostability's customers successful. He has been a part of Boostability for over 7 years. Colton loves hanging out with his family and gaming. He runs a personal blog over at www.coltonjmiller.com where he discusses gaming, life, and SEO.