Setting Up XML Sitemaps

To make the Google crawlers job a little easy and quickly get your new web pages indexed, setting up XML sitemaps help a lot. While the term itself along with the use of XML sitemap is considered the technical side of the on-page SEO process, it has nothing to do with any technology. All you need to know is how to install and use a few tools to create your own XML sitemap.

Basically, an XML sitemap is nothing but a file that contains details of each webpage or important webpages on your website in XML. It is called a sitemap because it has the list of every page on your website along with its links. The main purpose and often the only purpose of these sitemaps is to let search engines know about the existing pages of your website. Details like the importance of a page, how frequently it is updated and the last date of update on the page are also present on the XML sitemap.

To create an XML sitemap you can use a plugin for WordPress websites, create one manually or use a third-party app and update it through your website’s CMS. After you have created one, you will need to submit the same to Google. We will give you a brief overview of using the Google XML Sitemap plugin on a WordPress website below:

– Login to your WordPress account
– From the menu on the left click on Plugin and select Add new
– On the right you can see a search bar. Here look for Google XML
– Install the Google XML sitemaps plugin
– After installation, click on activate the plugin
– Once the plugin is activated, scroll to XML-sitemap under the Settings in the menu on the left
– Default settings are already loaded in the plugin. Using the same setting you can generate your first XML sitemap. Click on the link to generate the first sitemap. After getting confirmation of success you can access the sitemap by adding an extension: /sitemap.xml to your domain name.
– The default settings are good for a basic website. But if you want to customize things like priority, frequency, excluded items, additional pages and so on, you can do so in the settings section.

The next step is to notify Google about your sitemap using any of the 3 ways below:

– You can submit the sitemap directly to Google if you have a Google Search Console account.
– Specify the path of your sitemap in the robots.txt file
– You can also ping Google to crawl through your sitemap by sending an HTTP GET request