An XML Sitemap is an easy for webmasters to tell search engines about all the pages on the whole website. It does not boost search rankings, but helps search engines better crawl your website. So do you know whether you need XML sitemap on your site and how to create a sitemap in WordPress? If you have the same questions, find answers in this article, in which we tell you what is the XML sitemap, and ways to create sitemap in WordPress as the following.
What’s an XML Sitemap?
A sitemap is a web page which lists all the page of the entire website, making it easier for search engines crawl all pages of a website, and for users to find the page they are looking for, or to browse the whole site without clicking through a lot of links.
There are two typical versions of sitemap –HTML sitemap and XML sitemap
- HTML sitemaps are written in html, designed for helping visitors and engine bots easily find pages on the website. It always includes some important and useful pages but does not contain every subpage.
- XML Sitemaps are written in XML (Extensible Markup Language),used by web developer to submit a sitemap to tell search engines about the pages on your site, their relative importance to each pother and how often they are updated. All these jobs are done for search engines, and website users don’ need to see them.
Is XML Sitemap Necessary for WordPress Sites?
Is XML sitemap necessary for WordPress sites? Definitely! XML sitemaps make great sense to search engine optimization so that it is important not only for WordPress sites, but also all types of websites.
If you are running a new blog or website, sitemaps are very useful. Generally, new websites do not get many backlinks to the individual pages so that it’s not easy for search engines to index all the pages and posts. However, with sitemaps which automatically informs search engines about pages that are available for crawling, your site can be crawled more efficiently.
If you have a powerful website, sitemaps help your site tell search engines the relevance between pages and the update frequency. Search engines can judge how often your site update and identify which parts are more frequently updated than others so that they will set proper crawl rate for your site. This makes your site are more visible to search engines and can be quicker crawled than others.
How to Create XML Sitemaps in WordPress Sites?
There are multiple ways to create an XML sitemap in a WordPress site, and usually using WordPress sitemap plugins can be the easiest one. In below, we take an example with Google XML Sitemap plugin (http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/).
As the name shows, Google XML Sitemaps makes the WordPress sites more friendly to the search engines as Google, Yahoo, Ask.com and Bing. It creates a special XML sitemap which can help the search engines index the sites better, and help the crawlers retrieve the information and structure of a website effectively. In this way, users’ blog can be easily discovered and indexed in search engines. The plugin is versatile enough to support all kinds of pages to be turned into sitemap; even it is a custom URL.
More importantly, once you updated your website or created new content for a post, the plugin will automatically inform all the main search engines to ensure the instance. All these measures combine together can guarantee that search engines can index every little thing on your WordPress sites easily. Here is the instruction about how to create an XML sitemap with Google XML Sitemap Plugin.
- Log into your WordPress admin panel, go to plugins.
- Install and activate Google XML sitemap plugin.
- Go to settings – > XML Sitemap./li>
- Click the “click here”, and your sitemap will be automatically generated in seconds.
In addition, there are some other rich-featured plugins used to help you create a XML site map with ease.
PS Auto Sitemap
PS Auto Sitemap is favored by many website builders for its easy to use features and highly customizable design. Through admin page, you can quickly change the settings of the lists, choose to show or hide of special home, category, pages, or posts. Besides, there are more than ten display styles for you to choose from and each of them is produced by professional designers. With these customized styles, you can make the WordPress sitemap different and elegant.
WP Sitemap Page
This is an extremely powerful sitemap plugins suitable for both newbies as well as internet geeks. It provides the easiest way for all users to setup a sitemap within one minute. All you need to do is just copy the given code and paste it to any of your posts and then, this can produce a sitemap of all your pages and posts automatically.
As for experts who prefer customizing their sitemaps, this plugin allows them to decide in what way the sitemap is displayed. Another advantage of this plugin is that it supports all the versions of WordPress, even the latest one – WordPress 3.9.
RPS Sitemap Generator
RPS is one of the best and the most welcomed sitemap plugins in the market. It comes with a familiar interface to ensure users can review their new as well as updated posts in an intuitive way. Besides, the plugin tries to keep pace with users to make sure that the sitemap can be updated as soon as there is anything new happens to their websites.
BWP Google XML Sitemaps
The plugin can produce a sitemap in a short time and take up fewer resources. Unlike many other plugins, BWP Google XML Sitemaps gets rid of the limit of 50,000 URL. Thus, site owners don’t need to worry about the limitations, especially for those big website managers. With it, users can build sitemaps for multiple websites at the same time and custom them with modules.
How to Submit Sitemap to Search Engines
The search engines like Google are clever to find a sitemap. No matter when you publish a new post or page, a ping is sent to search engines to notify them about the changes. However, we still recommend you submitting your sitemap to search engines by hand so that they will show you errors, pages indexed and other relevant stats.
Submit to Google
To submit your XML sitemap to Google, you need to use the Google Webmaster Tool. After signing to your Google account and entering this special Google tool, you can find an “Add a Property” button. Click it and enter your domain.
Next, you should verify your ownership of this site. For this, the recommended method is by uploading the special HTML verification file to your site. Check the steps from the following screenshot.
Now, you can be presented with detailed statistics of whether your submitted contents have been indexed properly. To check it, you simply need to click Google Index > Crawl > Sitemaps from the left-hand column, and have a look at the bar chart to figure out how your website is indexed.
Submit to Bing
For this practice, you need to leverage the power of Bing Webmaster Tool. After signing in using the Microsoft ID, you firstly need to add your website and verify the ownership by entering all the information required about you and your website.
In the “About My Website” section, you can find an “add a sitemap” option. Here, you need to enter the full URL of your sitemap. Generally, this URL is just like “http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml”.
After filling out all the required fields and clicking the Save button, you can be redirected to the dashboard of the Bing Webmaster Tool, from which you can find a “Verify Now” button. Click it and choose the verification method of “adding the meta tag in header”. Then, you can be presented with a line of random code. Copy and save it.
Next, you need to go back to your WordPress admin and click the General button from the SEO drop down. Then, target the Webmaster Tools option and enter the earlier verification code into the area of Bing Webmaster Tools.
Now, you have your website and XML sitemap added to Bing successfully. Therefore, when you enter the dashboard of this tool, you can check your crawling and indexing situation clearly.