Site maps are very important for your homepage SEO. Once you are done creating your site map, it is recommended that you submit it to Google webmasters tool so that Google can crawl your sitemaps. However, people often get confused when it comes time to decide which type of site map is better to use. Well it all depends on your websiteâ€™s purpose. One of the main differences between the two is in how Google crawls the website.
The simplest explanation is that XML is primarily for the search engines while HTML is written for the users.
A XML sitemap protocol is specifically intended for search engine spiders. At its root, XML is a file that includes all the behind the scenes activity on a web site. Not just the siteâ€™s main URL, but all the URLs within the site along with the associated metadata. This can include when the URL was last updated, how important it is, the average frequency changes occur, the URLs relation to the rest of the site, etc.
HTML is just a general overview of the site, just the pages and info a user needs to be concerned with. If youâ€™re on a web site and youâ€™re looking for the shopping cart or the â€˜Contact Usâ€™ page and canâ€™t find it, youâ€™d go to the sitemap and easily find it there. While this is geared towards the user, it can also help your search engine ranking because your site is user-friendly and catering to the site visitor.
Why Use One Over The Other?
Even if you are just getting started in the world of web design, you might have heard about HTML before. For many years HTML was the only type of coding you could use to create web pages. You might have heard terms like ASP, JSP Java Script or CSS, but these and others are essentially just add ons to HTML. Every web page at its heart was made with HTML. But by late 1999 up on to late 2001 the world wide web consortium, which is the governing body of the Internet, decided to discontinue using HTML and replace it XHTML and XML.
XHTML which stands for Extensible Hyper Text Mark up Language is almost identical to HTML. The most apparent difference with HTML and XHTML is the syntax of both languages. The end goal of XHTML is to be compatible with different devices and browsers, so the code is written with stricter rules. As a result, XHTML ends up looking like a more mature version of HTML.
When you think about the major differences between XML versus HTML sitemaps, it basically it means that the person writing the program or code gets to decide what the tags means. With HTML you were not afforded this luxury. People usually get the two types mixed up, but XML sitemaps are not linked to from the official website, but usually on the domain it would say example.com/sitemap.xml. As I said before, the XML site maps are primarily used for the search engines. It really helps to augment the crawling and indexing of a website. Now if your website is crawl-able and index-able then you wonâ€™t have to worry as much about search engines finding all of your good pages or all of your important pages. But the XML sitemaps really help search engines crawl through your site in a much more efficient way, it alerts search engines to your presence and makes sure you are getting all of your important pages represented.