In today’s article, I am going to tell you absolutely everything about something essential in SEO: how to create sitemap in WordPress.
If you don’t know what a sitemap is for WordPress or how to configure it or send it to Google, don’t miss this article; I’m going to tell you everything.
Creating and submitting a sitemap is vital for the SEO of your website, so you better pay attention because, after this, you will not doubt to have and optimize this key piece of SEO.
Let’s go to the mess!
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is an XML file that contains a list of all the pages on our website. They can also be done in HTML, but I will talk about the XML sitemap, which is the one that is sent to Google or other search engines like Bing.
One of the first things we must do when setting up a WordPress blog or a website is to create a sitemap.xml and send it to the Google Search Console (the old Google Webmaster Tools) to help Google know about the existence of your website. And its structure.
When you upload any new page or entry published on our website to the sitemap, and in this way, Google will know that there is new content to index and where it is located.
Therefore, sending the WordPress sitemap to Google once will be more than enough since it will automatically update with the new pages and articles you create on your website.
What is a sitemap for?
As you have already seen, the sitemap is a search engine query file where we indicate the pages of our website that we want them to take into account to index and include in searches.
With this file, we indicate to crawlers or crawlers which pages should appear on Google.
But the function of the sitemap.xml doesn’t end here.
In addition to that, it also indicates the last update date of each page so that search bots can crawl and index them faster according to new content.
In summary, sitemaps indicate to the search engines the structure of our website, the pages that should be indexed, and their updates.
A WordPress sitemap file will contain :
- All created pages (including the home page ).
- The posts we publish.
- The archive pages for categories, tags, and author (taxonomies).
- Types and products if we have an eCommerce.
However, it would not optimize this sitemap for SEO as it contains unnecessary URLs or those that can negatively impact SEO.
Later, you will see why it is essential to create a good WordPress sitemap and how to do it.
How to Create Sitemap in WordPress
Sitemap plugins for WordPress
There are many plugins to generate a sitemap in WordPress, so here I will put the best ones for you.
Of course, you can download and install them all from the official WordPress repository or the WordPress plugins section.
Yoast SEO (also known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is the quintessential SEO plugin.
If you read the article where I recommend the best free WordPress plugins, you will have seen that Yoast SEO is one of them. And it is because it has many features to improve the SEO of our website.
Google XML Sitemaps plugin
Perhaps this is the simplest plugin to create a WordPress sitemap and has many uses for its ease.
Rank Math SEO Plugin
Rank Math is one of the best and free alternatives of Yoast SEO Plugin.
Rank Math SEO plugin is one of the SEO plugins that I use on this website and all my websites. It also helps me while creating a sitemap for WordPress blogs or websites.
XML Sitemap & Google Newsfeeds
Plugin with which you can create an XML sitemap and give you the option of using feeds for Google news.
Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
BWP Google XML Sitemaps is a pretty strong plugin when it comes to generating a WordPress sitemap.
It incorporates many customization options (you can even customize the sitemap’s appearance in the browser or add external pages to the sitemap).
It also allows checking the existence of errors in the sitemaps from the plugin itself. A perfect option if you don’t want to use an SEO plugin.
All in One SEO Pack
The only SEO plugin that makes Yoast SEO compete.
Like Yoast SEO, it has other functionalities besides creating sitemap.xml.
You already know my recommendation is Yoast SEO, but if you prefer another SEO plugin that generates sitemaps, this is yours.
How to create a WordPress sitemap
As you have seen, creating a WordPress sitemap is one of the simplest things there is.
You have to install a WordPress plugin and configure the pages you want to include in each sitemap.
After installing the Rank Math SEO plugin in WordPress (which I recommend), it only remains to create the sitemap, configure it with the sections that we want to appear, and send it to Google.
I promise you that it will be easy and that you will create your sitemap.xml in one step. Prepared? Ready? Already!
Activate the XML sitemap
Go to the WordPress side menu, search for Rank Math SEO, and click on “Sitemap Setting.” And save the settings to activate it, and something like this will appear:
!! Congratulations!! You have already created your sitemap.
I told you it was going to be easy, and it was.
If you click on the link (the one that appears in the image), you will go to the URL of your sitemap.
Remember where your sitemap goes from because you will need it later to submit the XML sitemap to Google.
The rest of the tabs you see in the image are used to configure which pages you want to be on the sitemap.
What to include in the XML sitemap?
Now we will touch on a tricky topic that many people wonder about, and the answer is, of course, it depends.
Each sitemap must be configured based on the web, so if you manage to find the key for your website, you will have a part of the SEO very well covered.
Here is what a WordPress sitemap for a blog should include :
- Pages and articles.
Everything else, like tags, pages that generate some WordPress plugins or formats, should be excluded.
In general, any section that can create duplicate content for you should be off the sitemap.
NOTE: I want to emphasize that this would be ideal for a normal WordPress blog if it has other sections. You should assess what needs to be included in your site map.
Submit a sitemap to Google
After creating a sitemap and indicating what it should and should not contain, it only remains to send it to Google correctly to prioritize the pages contained within the website map.
Keep in mind that Google goes a bit to your ball. A page not included in the site map does not mean that Google will not track it.
To not be tracked, you will have to use the “no index” tag or the robots.txt file.
Including the sitemap.xml and submitting it to Google is no big deal either. You only need to have created your account in Google Seach Console (Google Webmaster Tools) and have added your website as property.
Once inside the Google Search Console, we go to Index >> Sitemaps.
Nothing will come out, but you will see a very striking button that allows you to Add or Test Sitemap, click there.
Now you have to add the URL of your sitemap so that Google detects it. Above I already explained where the URL of your sitemap is.
Hint: if you use Rank Math SEO, it will be yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml
To add an XML sitemap to Google, click on ” Submit ” with the full URL of the sitemap.
Important, notice the image that you only have to copy and paste the URL part of the sitemap. Don’t include your domain again!
Now, if we go back to Index>> Sitemaps in Google Search Console, something similar to this will appear:
Don’t worry if nothing comes out yet or says “Pending,” if your website is new, this can happen. Be patient.
It is already submitted and accepted by Google. In addition, in this graph, we can see data as useful as the number of pages and images indexed and the date of the last processing of the sitemap by Google.
You no longer have to do anything else to worry about your sitemap.
It will update automatically and shouldn’t give you a problem. Now we have to wait for Google bots to start indexing.
If you change the plugin or the configuration of your sitemap.xml, you will have to send it again and delete the old one.
I hope this tutorial has helped you to create a WordPress sitemap and send it to Google. Now you have got the answer to your query about how to create a sitemap in WordPress
Remember that there are many more articles on SEO on the blog.
Do not forget to share it and leave me your questions, doubts, complaints, problems, etc., in the comments.
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