Sitemaps and SEO - Do sitemaps help your Google PageRank?
With the millions and millions of websites in existence today, how do you get yours noticed? The most common way is for it to be high up in the rankings of useful and relevant websites. Google is the most widely used search engine today. When someone keys in a search term on Google, you can only hope that your website comes up in the first ten pages of results. You do not have to sit there and just hope, though. There are a number of things you could do to improve your chances of being noticed. Google came up with a system to determine how important a website is.
Everyday, Google’s automated programs called spiders “crawl” the World Wide Web. The purpose is to index all the existing web pages out there. The information these spiders gather is used as the basis for calculating what Google calls PageRank. This concept was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Stanford University. What exactly is PageRank? It is an algorithm which assigns numerical weights to linked pages.
The higher the figures, the more important the page is. The PageRank is resultant of how many pages link to your own page. It is of no use to make bogus incoming links to your page though. Google gives more weight to more reputable sites that link to your page. Bogus and paid incoming links can actually be detected. The algorithm takes into account all incoming links – both external and internal. This is where sitemaps come into the picture. As can be gathered from the name, sitemaps are basically a guide to what can be found in your website. It is a page within your site wherein the user can see the overall structure and informational content. It contains links to all the pages in your website.
Will providing a sitemap increase your Google PageRank? The answer is simple: yes it may. As mentioned earlier, the PageRank system also takes into account internal links. The more pages you have in your website, the higher you PageRank. A word of caution is necessary here. Pages should contain original content and not simply be copies of each other. Otherwise, your PageRank may actually decrease. As the spiders follow links to get to web pages, a sitemap will actually facilitate the “travel” of these spiders within your site. If each of the pages on your web site are interconnected and are easily accessible from one page, then chances are the spiders will find the necessary information faster and easier. Experts suggest that you put only a maximum of 100 links in one page. If you have more than that number of links, you should create different sets of sitemaps.
In order for the idea of the sitemap to really work, you need to provide a link to the sitemap on every page on your website. The keys to increasing your PageRank are fairly simple. Include original content in as many pages as you can. Link your pages together. Create a sitemap to make navigation easier. Provide links to the sitemap for each page. This way, both user and spiders can find all the information that you have to offer.
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