Every website should have a sitemap. In this article, I will show you how to create a sitemap in WordPress. Creating a sitemap should be one of the first things you do when starting a new website.
When you create a new website, search engines don’t know that your new website exists and so it cannot appear in search results.
By creating a sitemap for your website, you help search engines find it faster. If you don’t create a sitemap in your WordPress website, it doesn’t mean that it will never be indexed by search engines, but it will take significantly longer (you don’t want that).
WordPress sitemap consists of all the pages you have published on your WordPress website. There are two types of sitemaps, HTML and XML.
HTML sitemap is a regular page on your website which links to all of your pages. HTML sitemap is useful if your website has a higher number of pages and posts as it helps people navigate around your website.
In this article, I will talk about XML sitemap which is essential to any website regardless of its size. XML sitemap is unlike HTML sitemap designed for search engines.
Think of XML sitemap as a list which is constantly updated every time you publish new content. Search engines crawl this list and index the pages on your website.
If you make any changes to your existing content, search engines will know about the updates. If search engines see from your sitemap that some of your pages are updated more frequently (like your blog for instance), then they crawl them more often which helps your new posts show up in the search results fast.
Sitemaps help search engines to see and learn about your content. It’s in your best interest to create a sitemap in your WordPress website and help search engines to learn about your content. Creating a WordPress sitemap is free and easy to do. This how you can do it.
WordPress plugins make it easy to create a sitemap. There are quite a lot of plugins which allow you to create a WordPress sitemap for free, I like to use Yoast plugin.
Once you install and activate Yoast plugin, go to General/Features. XML sitemaps should be turned on by default. Click on the small question mark icon and then click on the link which says “See the XML sitemap”.
After clicking on the link, you will be redirected to a page on which you will see all the sitemaps Yoast plugin generated for your website.
The main sitemap is the one displayed in the URL - sitemap_index.xml. When you submit your sitemap to search engines, you can either submit just the main sitemap alone or you can submit all of them. The main sitemap is linked to the other sitemaps so it’s not necessary.
You have created a sitemap in WordPress, but the job is not done yet. Once you have your sitemap, you need to tell Google that it exists.
Follow these steps to submit your WordPress sitemap to Google:
That’s all there is to it! Your website will now benefit from having a WordPress sitemap.