Consider what happens when a user removes part of your URL Some users might navigate your site in odd ways, and you should anticipate this. For example, instead of using the breadcrumb links on the page, a user might drop of a part of the URL in the hopes
of finding more general content.
He or she might be visiting http://
but then enter http://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/news/2016/ into the browser’s address bar, believing that this will show all news from 2016. Is your site prepared to show content in this situation or will it give the user a 404 (“page not found” error)? What about moving up a directory level to http://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/news/?
A site map (lower-case) is a simple page on your site that displays the structure of your website, and usually consists of a hierarchical listing of the pages on your site.
Visitors may visit this page if they are having problems fiding pages on your site.
While search engines will also visit this page, getting good crawl coverage of the pages on your site, it’s mainly aimed at human visitors.
An XML Sitemap (upper-case) file, which you can submit through Google’s Webmaster Tools, makes it easier for Google to discover the pages on your site. Using a Sitemap fie is also one way (though not guaranteed) to tell Google which version of a URL you’d prefer as the canonical one (e.g. http://brandonsbaseballcards.com/ or http://www.brandonsbaseballcards.com/; more on what’s a preferred domain). Google helped create the open source Sitemap Generator Script to help you create a Sitemap file for your site. To learn more about Sitemaps, the Webmaster Help Center provides a useful guide to Sitemap fies