Creating an HTML sitemap can help users, search crawlers, and website owners to access and navigate through the most important pages on a website.
In the same way that an XML sitemap is designed to help search engines understand content hierarchy and website architecture, an HTML sitemap can perform the same role for your users – while also providing some additional benefits to your SEO efforts.
What is an HTML Sitemap?
An HTML sitemap is a text-based web page that lists all of the most important pages on your website in a way that is easy for users to access and browse. In the same way that a book features chapters and a glossary, an HTML sitemap provides a reference point for website visitors to view the structure and context of a website.
An HTML sitemap should provide a clear visualisation of the most important pages on a website. Whether a user is looking to find a similar page, an on-site resource, or simply trying to understand the architecture of a website, HTML sitemaps provide a valuable reference point for site users.
What Is the Difference Between an XML Sitemap and HTML Sitemap?
The difference between an XML sitemap HTML sitemap is that an XML sitemap is made with the explicit purpose of helping web crawlers to access various pages on a website, while an HTML sitemap is designed to help users navigate through a website.
Webmasters do not need to choose between maintaining an XML sitemap or HTML sitemap. Most SEO professionals recommend keeping an up-to-date HTML sitemap that assists users and indexing new pages, while also keeping an XML sitemap that accurately categorises different parts of a website for search crawlers.
How does an HTML Sitemap Help SEO?
An HTML sitemap can assist search engines to find, crawl, and index important content while also providing a simple to follow site hierarchy. Some of the key SEO benefits of an HTML sitemap for SEO include:
• Helping search engine crawlers to understand the context and hierarchy of website content
• An HTML sitemap helps crawlers to discover new content (increased crawl rate)
• Provides internal links to valuable website pages ensuring no “orphan” pages on the website
• HTML sitemaps can direct search bots to different pages on your website and provide a navigation structure for crawling.
How does an HTML Sitemap Help Users?
HTML sitemaps are typically used by webmasters for an internal reference, as well as for the associated SEO benefit. However, HTML sitemap also provide a readable, easy-to-understand reference point for website users that are looking to understand the scale and context of website content. Some of the important ways that HTML sitemaps can assist users include:
• Provides a centralised reference point to explore different website categories
• Helps users to understand the size of the website and navigate to relevant content
How do HTML Sitemaps Help Site owners?
HTML site maps are essential for tracking content, identifying category structure, and keeping on top of website hierarchy. Some of the other benefits for site owners include:
• Quick reference point for content covered
• Refer to HTML sitemap for internal linking opportunities
Should You Use a Plugin or Keep it Manual?
Choosing between a plugin generated HTML sitemap and a manually generated one will come down to the size of your website. For dynamic websites with hundreds of category or core pages, finding a plugin for your CMS that can automatically update your sitemap may be the most suitable option. Whereas for smaller websites that rarely experience large category changes, a static sitemap could be a better option. Factors that influence manual vs. static HTML site map:
• Size of the website and the number of pages
• Frequency of changes to key category pages
• Number of editors making changes to website category structure
A Simple, Effective On-Page SEO Tool
An HTML site map is an easy-to-maintain tool that will help users and search engines to navigate to the most important pages on your website. Whether you are an experienced SEO Agency, or a newbie web master that is looking to take control of your website hierarchy, HTML site maps are a simple step that you can take towards a better on-page experience for users, and more efficient website crawling.