This is a continuation of a series of website marketing checklists. Check out all Web Marketing Checklists in this series.

What this is about: This list covers issues related primarily to on-site site maps but can also be relevant for xml site maps.

Why this is important: Site maps provide a one-click path to any destination within the site and a way for the search engines to quickly find and index all site pages. Ensuring that your site maps function properly is an important part in ensuring your visitors can find what they want quickly and all site pages get properly indexed.

What to look for:

  • Keep information current: Site maps are often neglected. Whenever pages are added or removed from your site make sure the site map gets updated as well.
  • Link to site map in footer: The footer is the natural place to provide a link to the site map. Header works also, but footer is more common.
  • Linked from Help and 404 pages: Your Help and 404 pages are a great place to provide helpful links to your sitemap.
  • Provide overview paragraph: Place an introductory/overview paragraph at the top of the Site Map page.
  • Provide intro to main sections: If site is divided into sections, provide a quick intro to each section.
  • Visible site hierarchy: The layout of your site map should correlate to the hierarchy of the site itself.
  • Descriptive text and links: Provide more than just links, but make sure link text is descriptive and/or provide descriptions with each link.
  • Link to xml sitemap in robots.txt file: If you created an xml site map for the engines, be sure to link to it in the robots.txt file.

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Hi, Stoney, great article. Sitemaps are not only often neglected but incredibly misunderstood and even unknown from people who should know better.

For instance, I was called today at my IM by a friend/colleague/competitor SEO who asked "Hey, Alexis, can you tell me what is this metatag for?

I told him I did not know what was it for. Ok, we are friends and exchange ideas from times to times but I thought it was a little too much to do all his homework for him!

P.S.: I forgot to add the tag, sorry, it was meta name='verify-v1'

Will more pages from my site be indexed with a properly constructed sitemap? Thanks for the information.

@ las vegas lady - the site map can help ensure the search engines find all your site pages and place them in the index, however you need to go beyond that to ensure that the pages are given proper weight in terms of the overall site architecture. But yes, a good site map can help.

Good tips... my understanding of where to have a Sitemap is the closer to the top of the page the better for SEOs to pick it up. Especially if the page has a lot of content. I like to put my Sitemap link right at the top or in the main menu, which is close to the top, before all content, so spiders find it and navigate to it quicker.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Site Maps