Have you ever visited a restaurant website and never noticed the “Site Map” button jammed somewhere near the bottom of the page? Why do they not have a sitemap at the bottom of their page and, why do restaurant websites need site maps?
The Site Map – Very Important
In the old days of the net, experts proclaimed every restaurant website should have a site map. From their ivory tower, they proclaimed the site map as the extraordinary method to assure potential customers could easily navigate the restaurant website and find what they needed. Once they found it, they would become your customer and you would be rich, rich, rich!
As is typical with such universally accepted proclamations, this one was wrong. Anyone remotely paying attention to server statistics realized very few people were visiting site maps. The proclamation stopped being shouted and evolved into criticisms of restaurant websites which still have site maps. These criticisms, of course, also miss the mark.
HTML site maps are archaic. Visitors to your restaurant website will almost never use them. You may even forget you have one. You will certainly forget to update it as often as you should. Still, the site map is a critical component of the restaurant website.
The first thing to realize is there is a specific purpose for having a site map. The purpose is to make it is as simple as possible for search engine robots to crawl your restaurant website. The more pages indexed by the search engines, the better off you are.
To create a site map, just make a page with the meta tag of “site map”. Add hyperlinked text to each fulcrum page of the restaurant website. A fulcrum page is simply a gateway page to a particular section of the restaurant website. For example, you may have a centralized page with links to each section. The centralized page is a fulcrum page and should be included on the site map. Once completed, make sure that every page you want included in the search engine has a hyperlinked text headline on at least one of the fulcrum pages.
A quick word about Google. Google has a new xml feature you can use for a site map. You can use it or forgo it as you see fit. Still, make sure to make an html site map for the other search engines.
Once you have the site map page up, don’t wait for the search engine robots to find it. Publish the link in an article byline or blog as soon as possible. Within a week or so, you should see pages from your restaurant website being added to the search engine indexes. This is true for Google even if you don’t use the xml site map tool.