Sitemaps, as the name suggest, help visitors navigate your hotel’s website, whether these visitors are Google’s crawlers or potential guests to your hotel. There are two main types of sitemaps to be aware of when developing your website: XML sitemaps and HTML sitemaps.
As we’ve discussed in our XML sitemaps blog, XML sitemaps are critical for getting your hotel’s website indexed on a search engine results page (SERP). In other words, an XML sitemap will help your website show up on Google.
An HTML sitemap, on the other hand, is more useful to the human visitors of your hotel website. An HTML sitemap is a webpage on your website that contains an organised overview of all the pages on your site. HTML sitemaps allow people to see the layout of your hotel’s website, which can help them find certain pages if they get lost while navigating the website.
This last concept might seem similar to another element of a website: the menu navigation. HTML sitemaps essentially serve the same purpose of your site navigation menus. So, while HTML sitemaps are beneficial for website navigation, their purpose is fulfilled by any well-formatted, easy-to-use menu structure.
But, the question remains: Since XML sitemaps are important for SEO, is the same true for HTML sitemaps?
In a word, not really. It’s a well-known fact that search engines reward websites that are easy to use, and you can improve your site’s ranking by improving user experience. Therefore, an HTML sitemap that makes website navigation easier may have an improved ranking. However, as Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said in a 2016 Google hangout:
‘… An HTML sitemap could be comparable to a normal site’s navigation, and if you already have good site navigation, then you probably don’t need an HTML sitemap, for search engines, at least.’
So, having an HTML sitemap on your hotel website wouldn’t greatly affect your website’s rankings. However, if you’d still like to include one on your hotel website, feel free to do so; just don’t view it as an element that is necessary to improve your website’s rankings.
All that said, it is essential that you have a well-formatted XML sitemap in order to be indexed on SERPs like Google’s. Get in touch with us at Umi to find out how to build an XML sitemap that is perfect your hotel’s website.