Sitemaps work in the background, communicating with Google's search engine bots or web crawlers who could use all the help they can get to index your website thoroughly and properly. By increasing the visibility of your website content through an XML Sitemap (a specific type of Sitemap prepared for search engines), you influence the quantity and speed of crawl coverage.
These are the top 6 reasons why every website should use Sitemaps:
Guide Google's Search Engine Bots
Your search engine ranking on Google depends on the work of search engine bots that visit your website and search for web pages to index. They may automatically land upon your site through links from other websites and then take the time to passively follow URLs around your site. Unfortunately, just as they may find your website from an external link, they may also follow one of your website links to an outside website without having indexed all of your web pages, which means that they won't show up in search results. Make sure Google's bots get the full picture of your website with a Google Sitemap. Although Google doesn't guarantee that all links in your XML Sitemap will be indexed or will appear in Google searches, the Sitemap does help bots better crawl and understand your website and its structure.
Bring Attention to Isolated Links
Since bots crawl websites by jumping from link to link, they won't be able to find and therefore index a certain web page if it's not linked to other pages on your website. You may have these isolated links on purpose or accidentally after reorganizing your website. It's best to have all your web pages link to each other, but a Sitemap can help in bringing isolated links to the attention of Google bots. Every URL you include in your Sitemap has the chance of being indexed by Google.
Get Your New Website on Google
There's often a long delay before new websites show up in search results because they have very few incoming links, which are the entry points for Google's bots to discover you. Instead of relying on Google's automatic software for indexing, you can take action and let Google know about you by submitting an XML Sitemap. Google recommends that you use their News Sitemap for new websites, presumably because Google's bots check News Sitemaps more often since these Sitemaps are reserved for regularly changing content.
Present Yourself Accurately in Search Results
News Sitemaps allow you to clearly identify how content will be displayed in search results. You can specify the article title displayed in Google and the keywords you're trying to rank for. In this specific type of Sitemap, you can also let Google know of the genre of your article (from a set list, including "press release," "blog post" or "user-generated content for example") and the kind of access privileges you've set for the article. The <access> tag makes sure that content for free or paid subscribers or members doesn't show up on Google for all the public to see.
Help Google Find "Hidden" Content
Notify Google About Regularly Changing Content
There are two ways you can make sure that Google's web crawlers are visiting your website more frequently to check out changing content and crawling the newest additions first. In a typical XML Sitemap, you can set the <changefreq> (change frequency) tag to "daily," "hourly" or even "always" and the <priority> tag to "1" (the highest value). Google's News Sitemap is also specifically geared toward dynamic content and any URLs you include in a News Sitemap will have the chance to be indexed in Google News.