Best Practices for Native Site Maps


Post by Erik Bergstrom, SEO Specialist

Native (HTML) site maps are designed to indicate the most important, top level pages of any given website. Those URLs typically, but not always, mirror those found in the global header navigation menus. The idea is to house all of the unique, important category and subcategory links in a single page for search engines to parse.

Similar to the XML sitemap, native sitemaps can be thought of as a high-level destination for search engine bots to begin their crawl of a website to determine the site structure. It’s important to use optimized anchor text on the native site map page as well as provide a link to it in the global footer of a website.

BEST PRACTICES for NATIVE SITE MAPS

To ensure native site maps are adhering to the following best practices, these attributes are required:

(1) Keyword rich anchor text: The anchor text of internal links needs to reference the content of the page while using the most appropriate keyword(s) for that content. This will help increase link relevancy so search engines will have a better time understanding the internal linking structure of the site.

(2) Ensure all applicable URLs are included: All 200 Status URLs with unique content should be included in the native site map. Keeping duplicate content out of the native sitemap is important so search engines don’t serve multiple versions of the same piece of content. As long as the content is useful and unique and the user can navigate to it, it should be in the native site map.

(3) Proper organization: Native site maps need to contain a proper hierarchy. The top level pages/links need to have a more prominent display compared to the more specific pages that fall underneath these larger topics. These higher level links should be aligned to the left with sub-links indented to the right as shown in the example below:

native-site-map-example

CONCLUSION

A native sitemap can be thought of as a high-level destination for search engine bots to begin their public-facing crawl of a website to determine where the important content begins. It’s important to use optimized anchor text on the native site map page to assist engines in determining the relevance of a landing page, ensuring an organized layout, and including all applicable URLs. Brands can use these best practices to create a search engine friendly native site map to ensure the proper URLs are available for organic search.

To learn more about native site maps, contact Performics today.


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