A pair of major considerations in SEO are sitemaps and page structure. When consumers think of websites, they often think about graphics and logo design. Although those are important as well, page structures and sitemaps are equally as crucial… if not more so. Google details how to build a sitemap on their Search Console support page, but despite this tutorial, many websites still fail to implement one. We breakdown sitemaps and page structures below:
- Page Structure: A hierarchical constitution of web pages and their corresponding URL’s
- Sitemap: An XML file consisting of your page structure, submitted to Google for crawling facilitation
Even website’s that don’t submit a sitemap still have some form of page structure even if it’s not constructed consciously. Though some web developers believe in the make it up as you go along philosophy, this concept works against the very principle of sitemaps which is to instruct Google how to crawl your website and market it appropriately to relevant consumers. Another function of page structure is to facilitate a positive user experience and one that satisfies the user’s current need.
Understanding Sitemaps for HVAC Contractors
Sitemaps are data files through which site structure can be organized and presented to search engines like Google. When Google crawls a website, they interpret the sitemap as a guide of sorts, and index its corresponding pages accordingly. Assisting search engines in understanding your website can only help your internet marketing campaign. After all, the key to generating quality leads is appearing prominently on search results for relevant keywords. This can be done through either PPC advertising campaigns (something we can help you launch and manage) or organic SEO. Primary advantages of sitemaps include:
- Adjustment: Google is notified of changes to your content so that you can adjust based on market change
- Classification: Allows you to classify your pages and provide context to search engine users
- Intelligence: Gives you more data to analyze and can help you make necessary adjustments
- Visibility: Increase your search engine optimization (SEO) and help you stand out in search results
Sitemaps are not mandated for Google to understand your website. With that said, certain sites could use the XML file more than others. For example, newer and larger sites with few links can benefit most from an XML sitemap. Since Google doesn’t have a ton of avenues to crawl a site like this, sitemaps serve as a roadmap for their web crawler, which facilitates appropriate indexing, and subsequently produces superior traffic. Although XML is its most common file format, sitemaps can also be submitted as RSS or TXT files.
Developing a Page Structure For HVAC Websites
Even more crucial than a sitemap, is the page structure it corresponds to. Google prioritizes user experience above all else and a cognitively appealing structure goes a long way towards enhancing that experience. Site structures should be sensible and easy to navigate for the common visitor. Additionally, they should adhere to a clear URL hierarchy.
Using the parent – child page structure allows for top level and lower level pages which should relate to each other in a way that appeals to the user’s common sense. For HVAC contractors, an example of a top level page would be Residential AC Services and a lower level page within that category could be something like AC Repair. Breadcrumbs can also be helpful for users.