The Importance of Site Maps & Sitemaps
HTML site maps and XML Sitemaps both serve the same important function of providing the search engines information about your site. The HTML site map is the traditional method. However in recent years, search engines have developed the XML Sitemap protocol to assist in crawling. The benefits are:
Allows Google, Yahoo and MSN to locate all the sites content
Informs the search engine when content changes
Shows spiders deep content that is unable to be found in a normal crawl process
Tells the spider the date the content was last modified
Assigns the importance or priority of information
Allows robots to crawl a web site in a much more timely fashion
An HTML site map is still very useful for site owners who would like to organize their site and provide information in a more clearer manner. HTML site maps also lend to usability for visitors who can't use or don't understand your navigation.
For more information about Sitemaps visit http://sitemaps.org. You can also view Google's site map at http://www.google.com/sitemap.html.