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.
Here, we just take Google as example.
Verify Your Site with the Help of Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free service of Google, designed for webmasters to optimize for search engines. It gives users the data and tools required to run a great SEO-friendly websites. Now, you need to login into your Google account and go to the Google Webmaster Tools page. You can add your site to Google by clicking right read button of Add a Site.
Then, it pops up a new window which needs you to enter your primary URL . Add your site link and click the Continue button to go on.
In the next step, you are required to verify your ownership of the site. There are 5 methods to achieve this goal, including HTML fie upload, HTML tag, domain name provider, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager, in which HTML tag is the easiest method.
Select HTML tag, then it needs you to copy the meta tag Instructions box and paste it into your site’s homepage. Note that the tag should be entered in the <head> section, before the first <body> tag.
In the next, you can simply click Verify button. Once successes, you can go to the homepage of Google Webmaster Tools and there is your site listed.
Submit Your Sitemap
Click on the site which you want to manage, and it takes you to the Site Dashboard as the following.
Click the Crawl on the left-hand side, and then select Sitemaps in the next. The service shows all your sitemaps and the sitemaps added by you. For adding a sitemap, you can click the read button of Add/TEXT SITEMAP on the top corner. As it pops up a Add/Text Sitemap window, you can simply enter the sitemap URL in the text field and click Submit button at last.
Still now, you have completed all the steps and your sitemap is submitted successfully.