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What is XML Sitemap? An Ultimate Guide

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An XML sitemap is a file that provides a list of all your website pages and links to them. It allows search engines such as Google and Bing to know what your site is about and how it is structured.

Therefore, publishing an XML sitemap on major search engines will provide greater visibility for the website in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). Increasing visibility can lead to increased organic traffic and increased ranking.

Sitemaps are not intended to be used as a method for creating links in your website, but for creating a clear, simple, Google-friendly structure that search engines can crawl.

The file is an easy-to-maintain document that allows you to publish your ‘website’ and provide your search engine company with valuable information regarding the structure and content of your website. It contains all the presentation pages: home pages, blog pages, and all the content pages.

Why Do You Need an XML Sitemap?

Google and other search engines (e.g, Yahoo!, Bing) use sitemaps to crawl websites and list the links that are available, as well as the main pages of the website.

When a website is crawled then it is converted into data that search engine companies can use to enhance their indexing and ranking algorithms. An XML sitemap file provides Google with data about your website’s content hierarchy and structure, which are important factors in determining how your site appears in organic results.

It enables Google to determine whether your site has changed since it last crawled it. In other words, you get more visibility for both new visitors and returning visitors when you implement an XML sitemap.

How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress?

Some methods to create sitemap index files for search engine crawlers include:

Create a Sitemap in WordPress

Method 1. How To Create XML Sitemap In WordPress Without A Plugin

Go to your WordPress site’s Administration Panel and then click on XML > sitemap.

Enter the full path of your sitemap file and name it (e.g., http://www.yourblog.com/sitemap_index.xml) and then click the Save Changes button

Method 2. Creating An XML Sitemap In WordPress Using All In One SEO

Download and install the All in One SEO Pack, then go to its section ‘SEO’, click on ‘Sitemaps’.

Fill in the form, using your website path and location where you want to create a sitemap. Click on the ‘Submit’ button.

Method 3. Creating An XML Sitemap In WordPress Using Yoast SEO

Install and activate the Yoast SEO plugin, then go to this section ‘XML Sitemaps’ (under ‘SEO’).

Under the section XML Sitemaps: Content, enter the name of your future sitemap file, enter its location and click on Save (you may also choose an image or video file if you want).

Click on ‘Save & Publish’. You can also create multiple sitemap files for search results.

Method 4. Creating An XML Sitemap In WordPress Using Rank Math

Go to Rank Math > Home Page and then enter the title of your sitemap, enter your website address and create a new folder resource.

Click on the plus sign and select ‘XML Sitemap’, fill in all boxes related to your sitemap file, and hit Save Changes.

Also Check: How To Secure Your WordPress Site From Hackers? 

Why Do You Need an XML Sitemap?

Sitemaps can be used to :

1. Help Search Engines

Help search engines know what new pages have been added to your site Help search engines continue to index your site correctly as you make changes Publish new content and inform search engines about their timeliness so that they can crawl them more frequently.

Search Engine Optimization

2. Find Information More Quickly

Help users to find information more quickly on your site. A sitemap will help users who don’t know how to use the search engine find what they are looking for. Google News feeds are built from XML Sitemaps, so if you want your articles to be included in Google News feeds, you need an XML sitemap for that too.

There are numerous benefits that an XML Sitemap can bring to your website, but it can also help you with some SEO tasks such as:

3. Crawling

It will help your visitors find new pages and websites by directly including them in the search engine’s index. Search engines will crawl all pages of your site more often if you include a sitemap in the robots.txt file. If you already have a sitemap but are not set up in robots.txt. Then your site will only be crawled when Google finds it through its XPath queries.

4. Indexing

When Google crawls your website and finds a sitemap with all the pages in it, it can index the pages more quickly. It works like that because when you have a good-quality sitemap and it is indexed by the search engines. They will be to find what you have added or updated. Google indexes all these pages in the index. So, search engines will be able to find them even if your site was down for long periods.

5. Vital for Search Engine Optimization

WordPress has a built-in feature that allows you to create an XML Sitemap of your WordPress site. Google Webmaster Tools is a must for bloggers and website owners who want to have a better and more efficient SEO on their websites.

Google Webmaster Tools is an important tool for every blogger who wants to optimize his search engine ranking in the search engines such as Google.

It is recommended to publish the sitemaps after you have verified the test pages with your theme or plugin that enables the validation of links and sitemaps. Using this method will ensure that you don’t delete any important entries accidentally and invalidate your entire task.

This has been an in-depth tutorial on how to create an XML Sitemap and submit it to search engines like Google XML Sitemaps are useful for search engines. And they help users find your new, updated, or changed content on your website.

They also help search engine spiders crawl your site more often and make them more effective. So, let’s try to publish your sitemap now.

Summing Up

It’s difficult to make a sitemap that would be loved by all search engines and users. In order to have the best possible XML Sitemap, you need to follow all rules of the search engines and not make mistakes.

It’s highly recommended that you take a look at the Google Search Console account, where you will find answers to many questions about sitemaps.

Hence, the article summary includes:

  • An XML Sitemap is a file that contains a snapshot of your website.
  • An XML sitemap tells Google and search engines what new pages you have added to your site. And helps them crawl the pages more efficiently.
  • A sitemap index file is useful when you want your content to be indexed even when your site goes offline. It ensures users can find what they are looking for while they are offline.
  • It’s highly recommended to create a sitemap for every website. Once you create the sitemap and submit it to Google, Yahoo, Bing webmaster tools, your pages will be indexed faster.

If you have any questions about the sitemaps, please leave a comment below.

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