Yes and No.
If you have a small site of less than 10 pages and you already have a link building strategy on your site and your regularly update the site, then you do not need a site map.
If you have a big site, then yes you need a sitemap. A sitemap will help to get the pages indexed and ranked in the search engines faster. It is also important if your site has session IDs and duplicate content. A sitemap should automatically be generated through the content management system. If it is not, you will need to manually run a sitemap through tools such as Xenu Sleuth to generate the xml file.
I do not have a sitemap on this blog as it is crawled often. The pages are indexed and therefore a sitemap is not needed.
Now if you have a news site, Google suggests you have a news sitemap for the following reasons (as quoted by Google):
* Discover news articles faster: Sitemaps allow Google News to quickly find all of the news articles on a site.
* Crawl and index all news articles: Sitemaps point our crawler directly to each news articles URL, ensuring full coverage of the content on your site.
* Extract and display article information more accurately: Sitemaps identify the article titles, as well as the publication date for each article.
* Characterise article content more accurately: Sitemaps specify the different types of content in your articles by using
* Annotate articles with metadata: Sitemaps clearly identify each article’s content based on specific description such as related keywords or stock tickers.
Google suggests you use a News Sitemap if has dynamic content (meaning it is updated often), it is a new site or users have to follow many links to get to your articles. Please refer the Google Help section to see how to generate the news sitemap.
But you can only submit a News Sitemap to Google if you’re already included in the Google News program. Basically, you have to be a publisher before you can have your news appear in Google News results.
So how do you become a publisher? Well you need to submit your site to Google and wait for them to come back to you.
Another sitemap that you should start to consider is the video sitemap. This is important if you have a site with lots of videos, film trailers and clips.
Check out Google’s help page to see how to set up a video sitemap.