We’ve found ourselves questioning the effectiveness of the traditional human sitemap as a development deliverable. The goal of a sitemap is to give an overview of a site’s structure. These days, site structures are not as simple as they were in the early days of the Internet. The location (URL) of pages and functions tend to be dynamic—not one-to-one and certainly not cut and dry. It can be difficult to create sitemaps that stakeholders and clients can interpret with speed and ease. Sitemaps are not heavily used (go ahead, take a look at your analytics). Notwithstanding, they serve a purpose and all good sites have a human-readable sitemap. Search tends to be the tool of choice for finding content. Luckily our site's content is concise and easy for users to navigate.
This hierarchy does not contain every page on our site. Human sitemaps are not a good way to feed the search engines everything. To feed the engines we use a Sitemap XML document.