If you visit some old government websites then you may see that there is a page called “Sitemap”, But if you go on that page you will see only URLs of the site. You may wonder why there are only URLs instead of any contents. Well, this sitemap is the directory of all pages or URLs of the website which is also called XML sitemap.
In this article, we will discuss what is an XML sitemap, why to use an XML sitemap, how to generate an XML sitemap & also how to submit it on the search engine. We’ll do everything for a WordPress website as it is the most popular CMS in the world.
What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is nothing but a file in an XML format that contains all the pages & posts URLs of a site. It is just like a directory where all the pages & posts links can be found.
In previous days, sitemaps are used in an HTML form but now sitemaps are in XML format. Basically, an XML sitemap is a way to tell the search engine about all the pages of a website & make it easier for a search engine to understand which pages & posts should be indexed & which pages or posts are important to index soon. It also helps search engines to understand which pages & posts are frequently updated.
XML sitemap doesn’t improve the ranking for any website but it helps search engines to easily find all the indexable URLs of the website.
Why use XML sitemap?
Sitemaps are very important from the SEO perspective though it is not boosting ranking for the website.
Earlier we’ve said that XML sitemap is just like a directory of all the URLs of the website & this helps search engines to find which pages need to be indexed in search engines. If you don’t use XML sitemap then it is harder for search engines to find which pages or posts need to be indexed & which one is frequently updated. This problem is more effective for the new website as the newer website don’t have any backlinks or referring sites.
This is why search engines like google, Bing allow the website owner to add an XML sitemap to the webmaster tools. So that their bot can easily crawl the website & index the pages & posts easily from the XML sitemap.
How to Add XML sitemap in WordPress?
Adding XML sitemap in WordPress is super easy. It can be done both automatically using the plugin or WordPress’s default sitemap generator & manually creating an XML sitemap file that needs to upload along with the website’s hosting directory. In this post, we’ll show only automatic methods for adding XML sitemap.
Adding XML sitemap with default WP sitemap generator
Adding XML sitemap with SEO plugin in WordPress
Using WordPress CMS is super easy & plugins make this easier to give a beautiful look to the website. For SEO purpose there are so many plugins which may help you to generate XML sitemap easily. Yoast SEO plugin is one of them. This is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin available in the market.
Yoast SEO plugin generates the sitemap automatically & you can control easily which pages & posts need to be indexed & which one is not. This feature makes it super easy for generating a sitemap. This plugin generates a sitemap & to see the sitemap you just need to add “/sitemap_index.xml” at the end of your domain name. You can see the all pages & posts available for indexing easily from here.
There are so many other plugins for adding a sitemap to the WordPress website but Yoast SEO is mostly used. Some of the other plugins are, all in one SEO plugin, Google XML sitemaps, Google XML sitemap generator, etc. but we recommend using Yoast SEO.
How to Add sitemap To the Search Engine
We already said that many search engines allow adding XML sitemap to their webmaster tools. Here we will show how to add a sitemap on google webmaster tools so that google bot can easily find your webpages & blogs to index.
Submitting your website on google webmaster tools you can see an option to submit a sitemap on your search console dashboard. Here you need to click on sitemaps. Clicking on sitemap you will see an interface like below:
Here you need to add the generated sitemap this is just the “wp-sitemap.xml” if you directly generate from WordPress and “sitemap_index.xml” if you use Yoast SEO plugin. Adding any of them to the text box shown in the image you just need to click on submit. It’s done.
Search engine bots can crawl your website easily now and index your website rapidly to their search engine. The same procedure may apply to the other search engines too.
Adding an XML sitemap is not so hard but adding it is very important. Though it doesn’t improve SEO ranking since it helps search engines to find all the pages & posts easily search engines index them quickly & it may possible to find your pages or posts quickly in search engines.
Hope you understand how to add it. If still any question about this please feel free to let us know so that we may clear you & also if you like it share it with others.