Sitemaps: What are they for and should I use them?
A sitemap is used for two reasons, the first being to allow easy access to the important sections of your website to its users and the second being to allow easy access to those same pages for search engine spiders. For the user might have trouble navigating the traditional interface of your website and would have their browsing experience greatly increased by the addition of a descriptive sitemap page. Spiders will eventually browse all portions of your site but the process can be expedited by giving them access to a sitemap rather than having them bumble along in your sites menu system. A sitemap also allows you to provide more descriptive information to the spider when crawling the links within your site.
There are two types of traditional sitemaps, one being XML with the other being an HTML sitemap. The XML sitemap normally just lists the links within your site while the HTML sitemap provides a human readable interface as well as a more descriptive display of the links within your site for search engines.
Q: Are sitemaps required when building out just about any kind of site?
The next time you are working on a website buildout be sure to include a sitemap in that build!
On a final note XML sitemaps can be linked within your robots.txt file by using this directive: