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Most of the articles you find regarding HTML sitemaps these days seem to be based on old and outdated sources, especially this 6 year old video. 6 years in the SEO world is ancient.

So SEO experts; do we really need to provide HTML sitemaps anymore? Realistically just how much of an impact will they have on SEO? I'm not talking about XML sitemaps here, by the way.

My thoughts are that in the modern world of semantic mark-up, tags, Schema microdata,and rich/fresh content driven websites, that a HTML sitemap just seems an incredibly outdated and desperate attempt to try and claw some favour with the search engines, when really that time could be spent implementing much more effective solutions.

I know people will argue that a HTML sitemap is also of use to the users, but really, who uses them?

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    In retrospect this is a discussion based question. And 6 years in SEO is not ancient. In fact, little has changed in most regards. – John Conde Feb 12 '15 at 13:58
  • That would be your opinion. – Adam Feb 12 '15 at 14:23
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    At the core of SEO has always been creating rich, unique content which has not changed at all. What has been burned away is all the tricky-doo that SEO "experts" keep trying to sell for high dollar. – Fiasco Labs Feb 12 '15 at 15:08
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    This is my opinion, but they are good for a few reasons: 1) You can use the "crawl this page and everything related to it" option in GWT to pseudo-force index of new content. 2) They are good for bots that don't know your sitemap.xml location (which should be ambiguous to avoid scrape or extra gen load). 3) They are good in this god-awful playskool bootstrap "everything scrolls" era -- people are over-simplifying their sites to the point that you can't find a darn thing. Human sitemap is your escape to a semi-normal site that isn't full of "look mom I can scroll" bootstrap BS. – dhaupin Feb 12 '15 at 16:30
  • This answer might help: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/74393/… This explains exactly how Google looks at and treats sitemaps and should clear-up any questions you may have. – closetnoc Feb 12 '15 at 17:12
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If you provide a solid XML sitemap with no mistakes, I doubt any of the major search engines might be interested in an HTML sitemap. Furthermore - yes, they were built for users, but I doubt many users are still using them.

That being said, I think whether or not one might decide to provide an HTML sitemap depends on the specific website. If the navigation is structured well and users can find anything without having to click through more than three categories to arrive at their destination (i.e. a product page), there is no point in providing an HTML sitemap. I have had clients whose website navigation was just a mess, though, and they were reluctant to change any of this for political reasons. In this case I would recommend providing an HTML sitemap so users can understand a website's structure somewhat better.

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