Do XML sitemaps improve SEO (Seach Engine Optimisation)?

There is a great divide within the SEO community on the value in submitting a sitemaps to search engines.

One thing is clear if you have a poor website navigation structure itΒ  wont help search engines find your pages, but your users may not be so impressed!

So why might webmasters consider creating a XML sitemap?

  • It could help with search engines figuring out canonical URLs, although a http 301 redirect is often better.
  • The last modified date field in the sitemap file will help search engines understand which pages are changing and when, faster than an organic crawl of your website.
  • Information about the pages such as priority and change frequency can help search engines understand and target relevant areas of your website.
  • They can also help ensure the validity of links and urls in your website as part of the generation process.

As withΒ  SEO itself there are some grey areas subject to fierce debate, yet there is certainly some validity to using XML sitemaps. For Google and others to maintain systems to support them does suggest they hold some value and they offer some support when using Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Perhaps most significantly with a free XML sitemap generator, why not at least give it a try and measure the results yourself?