choose the most important pages and exclude the others. Here are our suggestions for
pages to include:
• Product category pages
• Major product pages
• FAQ and Help pages
• Contact or Request Information pages
• All of the key pages on your
paths to conversion
, the pages that your visi-
tors follow from landing page through conversion
• Your 10 most popular pages (you’ll learn how to find these when you delve
into your server stats next week).
• Top pages clicked from your internal search engine, if you have one (see
Chapter 10, “Extra Credit and Guilt-Free Slacking,” for more information
on internal search engines).
Go easy on the autogeneration.
Some content management systems will automatically
generate a site map. As in so many other areas of SEO, we prefer the human touch. If
you, or your tech teammates, are leaning in the automated direction, be sure you
review the outcome carefully to be sure your site map has these characteristics:
• The layout is easy on the human eye.
• All links are standard HTML text that can be followed by spiders.
• The important pages (included in the preceding list items) are easy to find.
Look at other sites for design inspiration.
Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel.
There are hundreds, thousands, nay, bazillions of site maps out there on the Web. Use
one you like as a starting point.
Optimize your site map.
We don’t mean you should think of your site map as one of your
top-priority landing pages. But if done tastefully, your site map can actually contain a fair
number of your target keywords, not to mention compelling text. For example, instead of
a link simply labeled “Fungicides,” your site map could contain more keywords: “Organic
fungicides to eliminate lawn disease,” with the most important keywords, “organic fungi-
cides,” as the anchor text. Similarly, why use a title like “Our Products” when you can say,
“Our Earth-friendly herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides?”
Link to your site map from every page.
Users have come to expect a link to your site
map in the footer of every page on the site, so make use of this spot. If your site has a
search box, you may also wish to add a link to the site map near the search box and
even make a link to the site map a fixture within the site search results page.
Design your new site map or shape up your existing site map using the preceding guidelines. Deliver
your requested changes to your web developer or make the changes yourself.
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