You might have come across the term ‘sitemap” every now & then but ever wondered what does it mean. Well in simple terms, a sitemap is a list of contents of a website that can be accessed by users as well as crawlers. It can vary from links between different web pages of your website to a document where you display your website’s structure. To know more about What is HTML Sitemap and XML Sitemap, keep reading this article till the end.
Sitemaps are required for any website to allow the crawlers to navigate through a website & find all the required information. A sitemap is designed mainly for three purposes:
- It is designed for crawlers to gather all required information.
- It is developed for developers when they design a website.
- It is also developed for users to navigate through any website.
A sitemap broadly consists of two types:
- HTML Sitemap
- XML Sitemap
HTML stands for Hyper Text Mark up Language. For people into the technical field or into Digital Marketing, it is a term often brought to use.Html sitemap is mainly used to ease the structure of a website. It helps the visitors to find what they are looking for. The function of an HTML sitemap is similar to a book index. Just as a book index tells you what you would find on which page, HTML sitemap helps users find and access the required content when the website is large with many pages.
HTML sitemaps are specially created for the users i.e. humans. Another feature of the HTML sitemap is that it will not update automatically, one needs to update it manually. An HTML sitemap comprises one single HTML page which contains all the links of all the web pages of any given website and this sitemap holds the foundation of all the web pages of any website.
Points to keep in mind for HTML sitemap
XML or Extensible Mark-up Language is created especially to cater to the functioning of the search engine. It is a search engine friendly sitemap which need not be seen by users, but it is meant for the search engines to read about the pages in a site & how often they are updated.
A good XML sitemap lets know the search engine about the no of pages present on a specific website, the frequency of their updates and the time of last modification which in turn helps in proper indexing of the website by the search engine.
XML is a bit different from HTML sitemaps because they are meant for search engines and crawlers, not any website visitors.XML sitemaps can be visible with any web browser and their main purpose is to provide the URLs of a website to search engines. They collect all the data regarding the website which can be used for comparison as the more links they are provided with, the more the website will appear in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Points to be kept in mind for XML sitemap:
Difference between HTML & XML Sitemap
It is important to use a sitemap on your site because a crawler loves sitemap. The major difference between HTML & XML sitemap are:
HTML sitemap is user-friendly as it feeds the users whereas an XML sitemap is search engine friendly as it feeds the crawler.
With the help of HTML, users can gain comprehensive knowledge of your website whereas with XML sitemap the crawlers can gain insight into your website which in turn would help your website rank higher.
HTML sitemap needs to be updated manually whereas an XML sitemap gets updated automatically.
Any user can see the HTML sitemap of any website but it doesn’t tell us regarding the modifications & updates whereas XML sitemap tells us how many pages are present on your website & if any updates or modifications are done.
HTML sitemap helps users navigate through your website thus making the user a probable follower or customer whereas an XML helps the search engine crawlers to read & crawl your site effectively thereby increasing your website’s ranking on search results.
Hence both the sitemaps have their own importance so using both would enhance the functioning of your website.