You just created or run a WordPress blog? Sounds good.. Or You own a Website on whatever platform and you want to get found on the search engines, Yeah well.. Chances are that you have submitted your site to major search engines including Google using its search console.
But then, It doesn’t end there… You should know better when it comes to SEO.
Okay! Let me put it like this, You read somewhere that submitting a sitemap helps the search engine spiders understand and index your site better but then you have no idea how to do it.
Or perhaps you read the tutorial somewhere and plunged in yoururl.com/sitemap.xml using Google search console formally called Google webmaster tools.
That’s me lol. And until I figured this whole sitemap thing out I really didn’t understand how my URLs were being indexed really. (Scattered)
Let’s take this from the scratch okay?
What Tha Heck is a Sitemap?
Happy you asked, A sitemap is a file containing a list of all your web pages. The aim of this so-called sitemap is to tell Google and other search engine spiders about how your site’s content is being organized.
This file is like the complete documentation of your site. Search engine crawlers often read this file to understand how to index your site better.
There are tons of things a sitemap can contain:
- Metadata to provide the description of your pages which could either be a video, text or image.
- Critical information of a specific page which might be the last modified date, sometimes focus keyword If the right keyword density is applied and obvious.
- Importance of a page and relativity to others.
Do i Really Need a Sitemap For my Website
Not really Amigo but it’s necessary you do have one. You need a sitemap. Although the Googlebot and most search engine crawlers can automatically discover most of your site’s content IF YOUR PAGES ARE WELL LINKED. Even if properly linked a sitemap is still needed as it can improve the crawling rate and index speed of your site’s content especially if you:
- Have a huge Chunk of webpages on your site
- Your site is still new and have only a few backlinks
- Your site uses some Rich media functions or annotations to make search results display a bit different from others. Appearing on Google news is an example.
How to Create a Sitemap Then?
This is easy. Very easy and am going to show you how to create a sitemap for your site using Some WP Plugins for WordPress users or some other services for non-WordPress users.
Creating a Sitemap For Non-WordPress Users
WordPress is one of the most easiest and search engine friendly CMS available out there plus its FREE. I see no reason why your site is not running on the platform.
Since all my websites are powered by WordPress i really haven’t looked into how to create a Sitemap but i did find these amazing resources from
Creating a Sitemap For WordPress Powered Websites
WordPress makes everything easier with the availability of plugins to enhance the functionality of the sites powered by this CMS. There are two main ways to do this and am going to show you.
It takes less than two minutes to come up with one.
Using an XML Sitemap Generator Standalone Plugin
Download this Plugin Google XML Sitemaps and install using the Normal process. This plugin will generate sitemap and submit automatically to tons of search engines including Google, Yahoo, Ask.com and the rest.
Using WordPress SEO By Yoast to Generate Your Sitemaps
WordPress SEO by Yoast is one of the most popular WordPress plugins generally on the WordPress plugins repository. It comes with various SEO functions, Above all… It’s FREE.
How to Install Yoast SEO
There are two different ways. You can either search the plugin via your site’s WordPress Admin dashboard or Download and install Yoast SEO Plugin from the plugin repository.
Activate the Plugin and you’re good to go.
Creating XML Sitemaps with Yoast SEO?
So here’s the thing, Yoast boasts of having a complete SEO package plugin for WordPress powered websites and above all it’s free. Among the features available is XML Sitemaps.
You can easily generate sitemaps for your WordPress website using this plugin.
Now you could keep both plugins Google XML Sitemaps and Yoast SEO but then i got an issue when i tried it.
The Issue i Got with Using Both Plugins
The two plugins were crashing.
This was to be expected as both plugins are doing the same job literally. You could easily configure Yoast SEO XML Sitemaps settings and deactivate that function.
Been there done that, The thing just keep reactivating itself somehow it wasn’t listening to me. The rate at which I was getting that error was starting to bother me so it seems to me that It’s time to deactivate one for one. It’s Obvious.
So which would I deactivate so the other can work smoothly? I didn’t think much. I had to let the Google XML sitemaps plugin go its way while I let Yoast SEO continue generating sitemaps for my blog and I do the submission manually.
It feels good, Takes less than a minute to carry out and am going to show you how.
By default the sitemap generating option on Yoast SEO is turned on and you should be able to locate the your sitemap page via YourURL.COM/sitemap.xml for example Babs Reviews Blog sitemap is here http://babsreviews.com/sitemap.xml. So to get started go to your site’s Sitemap page first.
Submitting Your Sitemap Using Google Search Console for Better Indexing
Head over to Google Search Console and sign in. You should be presented with the list of sites you’ve added.
Click on the one you wish to submit the sitemap first (You should do this whole submitting thing for all your websites) and you should land on the site’s dashboard. Looks like below.
Click on the Sitemaps and you should be taken to a fresh page where you’ll enter your sitemap details. Click the Red button and enter the url string on your sitemap URL.
Plunged in like below?
As highlighted above and you’re good to go.
Doing What The Google XML Sitemap Plugin Does
That’s some automatic submission right? Each time you make changes to your site content either adding or removing a post or page it is automatically updated on your sitemaps too. So re-submitting takes less than 5 secs.
- Login to Google search console
- Click the site you want to resubmit the sitemap file
- Click on sitemaps
- You should get presented with the full list of sitemaps you have submitted in the past
- Click the tick all box
- Hit the resubmit button.
Note that it’s not really necessary to do this all the time but maybe when you decide to see how your site is doing via Google search console, It’s absolutely worth 5 secs of your time to resubmit this.
Sitemaps are one of the key factors of determining how many of your contents gets indexed. It tells the crawlers and teaches them to understand it better.
While submitting sitemaps does not guarantee increased organic traffic or complete indexation of your site according to Google Webmaster answers it’s necessary.
So don’t waste much of your time and go submit something now.
Have fun doing that. Your comments on this article is necessary.I would love to see your feedback.
Do you think there’s a better way to do this submission thing? or even think you don’t need it? Hit the comment spot and lets delegate on that. Bye for now.
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