How to create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google

  • February 1, 2021
  • Misc
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30-second summary:

  • A sitemap is among the technical sides of SEO.
  • A sitemap doesn’t enhance your SEO traffic however assists online search engine index your websites much faster.
  • It’s really simple to produce an XML sitemap and doesn’t need any coding understanding.
  • Once a sitemap is produced, you require to send it to Google.
  • Through your Google Search Console control panel, you can see comprehensive index protection reports and repair any technical mistakes if present.
  • Founder of WPMyWeb.com, Jyoti Ray guides you through the procedure of developing an XML sitemap utilizing various tools and information on how you can repair existing sitemap mistakes.

When it pertains to SEO, there are over numerous Google ranking aspects you require to master in addition to perform them in order to increase your online search engine presence. Believe me, it’s great deals of work – creating content concepts, keyword looking into, developing top quality material, developing backlinks, auditing your site, etc. And dealing with each of the methods is lengthy and needs great deals of effort. Fortunately, there are some SEO methods that are simpler to carry out however have a substantial influence on SEO. One of them is – sending an XML sitemap to Google.

Although a sitemap is among the parts of “technical SEO”, it doesn’t need any technical understanding, and most notably, it’s totally free and simpler to produce.

Even, in simply 10-15 minutes, you can produce an XML sitemap and send it to Google.

So, in this short article, we will initially discuss what is an XML sitemap, why do you require a sitemap, and after that reveal you how to produce an XML sitemap and send it to Google. Let’s start.

What is an XML sitemap?

A sitemap is a list of a site’s URLs. It’s a roadmap of a site that informs Google what details is offered and where to discover it. A sitemap consists of essential details about each URL, such as – when a post or page was last upgraded, how typically do you alter, etc.

The highlight of a sitemap is that you can define what posts, pages, or media files to be indexed by online search engine spiders.

Sitemaps are specifically composed for online search engine, not for human beings. So, it would be difficult for us to comprehend if not seen prior to.

Here’s how an XML sitemap looks:

XML sitemap example

Source

Why do you require a sitemap?

Search engines utilize spiders to discover and index all the details online. While crawling a page, they utilize both external and internal links to find brand-new material.

However, if a brand-new website hasn’t connected from other recognized pages, spiders discover it challenging to find brand-new pages on a site, and as an outcome, the indexing procedure gets postponed.

That’s where a sitemap comes.

A sitemap doesn’t just consist of a lot of important links however likewise assists Search Engine spiders to find brand-new details much faster.

Once you send your XML sitemap file to Google, you can see that all brand-new posts/pages you are releasing are offered someplace on Google search engine result (after a number of minutes). It’s due to the fact that of the sitemap file.

When do you require to utilize a sitemap?

Not everybody requires a sitemap. Google has its own complex algorithm to schedule crawling.

Google formally stated when a web designer requires a sitemap:

  • Your site is actually big
  • Your site is brand name brand-new and has couple of external links indicating it
  • You don’t develop internal links

However, for the most part, having a sitemap might be useful in a couple of methods.

Now I understand the fundamentals of a sitemap, let’s see how to produce an XML sitemap and send it to Google.

How to produce an XML sitemap

Creating a sitemap is really basic. You can utilize an online tool to create an XML sitemap and for WordPress websites, there are a lot of plugins offered.

I will reveal both of them.

1. Creating a sitemap in WordPress

More than 35% of the overall sites are powered by WordPress.

If you run a WordPress site, you can produce a sitemap utilizing a plugin.

There are a number of WordPress plugins offered that enable you to produce an XML sitemap, such as Yoast SEO, Rank Math SEO, etc.

Method 1, Create a sitemap utilizing Yoast SEO

Yoast is among the very best SEO plugins for WordPress. Yoast plugin assists you to enhance your page titles, meta descriptions, SEO analysis, etc.

It likewise has a choice to produce an XML sitemap.

If you are not utilizing the Yoast SEO plugin, download and install it from the WordPress plugin directory site.

Follow the actions listed below

From your WordPress admin panel, go to Plugins > Add New and look for “Yoast SEO”.

Creating an XML sitemap using the Yoast plugin

Once triggered, go to SEO > General > Features. Click on the Question icon to expose the sitemap URL.

Yoast SEO Sitemap

Method 2 – Creating a sitemap utilizing Rank Math SEO

If you are utilizing the Rankmath SEO plugin, you can create a sitemap like the method you produced utilizing the Yoast SEO plugin.

But, I choose utilizing the Rank Math plugin due to the fact that it offers advanced alternatives that are missing out on in Yoast SEO.

First, log in to your WordPress control panel and go to Plugins > Add New.

Search for “Rank Math” and install it.

Rank Math

Upon activation, go to Rank Math > sitemap Settings.

From there, you can set the number of links you desire per sitemap page, leave out URLs, images in posts, etc.

At the top, you can see your sitemap URL which appears like:

“https://www.website.com/sitemap_index.xml”

Rank Math Sitemap

Now, you are all set to send to Google Search Console.

2. Creating a sitemap without a CMS

If you are not utilizing any CMS, you can still create a sitemap.

For this case, Screaming Frog would be an excellent choice. Screaming Frog is a desktop-based program (offered on Windows & Mac) that crawls your site. The software application comes both in totally free and exceptional versions.

If your site has less than 500 URLs, you can start using the totally free version of Screaming Frog to generate a sitemap.

Follow the steps given below

Once downloaded and installed, open the software on your computer.

At the top of the screen, enter your website URL and click on Start.

Using Screaming Frog for creating an XML sitemap

It will start crawling your website and may take a few minutes to finish.

Once the crawl is finished, take a look at what pages are being crawled.

If the number is below 500, then you are good to go.

From the top of the menu section, click on sitemap > XML sitemaps.

Screaming Frog Sitemap

You can also include or exclude any options that you want in your sitemap file, such as Noindex pages, last modified date, Paginated URLs, PDFs, Images, etc.

I recommend keeping this default, however, you are free to make any modifications.

Once done, hit on the Export button and save the file on your computer.

Your XML sitemap file is ready to use.

3. Creating a sitemap in Wix

If you are utilizing Wix, then you don’t need to manually create a sitemap.

Wix does it automatically.

You can view your sitemap file by going to “your-wix-site.com/sitemap.xml”.

However, in Wix, you wouldn’t have much control over your sitemap.

If you want to exclude a page from the sitemap, simply go to the “SEO (Google)” settings tab under page settings and turn off “Show this page in search results”.

Creating a sitemap on Wix

Note: Wix recommends that you submit your sitemap each time you make any changes.

4. Creating a sitemap in Squarespace

Like Wix, Squarespace also creates a sitemap automatically.

You can view your sitemap by adding “/sitemap.xml” at the end of your site’s URL, which is “your-website.com/sitemap.xml”.

You can’t manually edit your sitemap in Squarespace, however, you can exclude pages from search results.

To perform this, go to Page setting and check “Hide this page from search engine results” in the SEO tab.

Squarespace Sitemap

5. Creating a sitemap in Shopify

Shopify automatically generates an XML sitemap file for you. You can view your sitemap file by going to “your-website.com/sitemap.xml”.

The generated sitemap contains all the products, collections, blogs, and webpages. The sitemap files automatically updated when made any changes.

Now your sitemap file is ready for submission.

Suggested read – How to optimize your Shopify site for SEO

How to submit an XML sitemap to Google

Now you have just created an XML sitemap file, it’s time for submitting to Google.

For this, you will need to connect your Google Search Console account with your website. Here’s the step by step procedure by Google.

Once connected, log in to your Google Search Console account and select your website.

From the dashboard, click the sitemaps.

You will see the option “Add a new sitemap”. Enter your sitemap URL in the blank field, and hit the Submit button.

Google Search Console Submit Sitemap

That’s it. Now, sit back and relax. Google will take care of the rest.

Fixing your sitemap errors to improve SEO

Generally, if your website consists of one or more technical errors, it’s really hard to figure it out. However, in most cases, it’s not even detectable unless you use a paid site auditor tool.

But, there is good news for you.

If you have submitted your sitemap to Google, you can see detailed index coverage reports to check if there is any technical error present on your site.

Log in to your Google Search Console account, and click on Coverage.

Then click on the Error, Valid with a warning, Valid, and Excluded tab to get the details.

Google Search Console XML Sitemap Coverage

From there, you can check pages for:

  • Indexed but blocked by robots.txt
  • Pages that have a server error (5xx)
  • Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag
  • Crawled but not indexed
  • Not found (404)
  • Page with redirect
  • Blocked by robots.txt, and many more

Google Search Console Sitemap Coverage Error Details

Click on each of the error pages to check what you need to fix. Once done, you can request Google to mark it as fixed by clicking on Validate Fix.

Once you fix all the technical errors with the help of your XML sitemap file, you can see a significant improvement in your search traffic.

Conclusion

Creating an XML sitemap is very simple and doesn’t require any technical skills. If you are using WordPress, you can create a sitemap using SEO plugins in just a couple of clicks. It’s likewise easier if you are not using any CMS.

There is no evidence that a sitemap boosts your website’s SEO, but it helps Google to find and index your website’s content faster. I also suggest you utilize a sitemap.

Submitting a sitemap to Google is simply a small part of the complete SEO video game.

Jyoti Ray is the Founder of WPMyWeb.com. He blogs about blogging, WordPress tutorials, hosting, and affiliate marketing.

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