Steps to create a sitemap in WordPress
A sitemap is a list that guides search engines and visitors to all the places where website content is located. By so doing, it allows search bots to crawl your web pages effectively and a short while. Nowadays, sitemaps are much beneficial to your SEO since they allow your site to get discovered easily. To help you understand better here are a few reasons why you need a sitemap for your mobile development. When you make changes in your website structure, sitemaps inform search engines about them.
- Sitemaps help search bots to crawl your website much faster for indexing
- If you are running a large website with a lot of unstructured or interlinked web pages, sitemaps will help search engines locate all your pages for quick indexing
Differences between XML and HTML WordPress Sitemap
Here are two types of Sitemaps: XML and HTML.
XML – This type of sitemap has metadata, the website’s URLs and other crucial website information. It even has information on when a particular URL was last updated.
HTML – On the other hand, HTML sitemaps provide more straightforward navigation for visitors to find what they are looking for in your site. They will your website become more user-friendly and improve your ranking by specifying where particular pages in your site are.
XML is meant to cater to search engines, while an HTML sitemap is created to help your site visitor easily find information on your site. For better site performance in search engine ranking, it is recommended that you have both types of sitemaps on your website. This will ensure that you are not missing out on any SEO related elements and also offer a great web experience for your visitors. For startups or new blogs, a sitemap will help them quickly their web pages, especially since they don’t have so many backlinks. That said, it’s time we look into adding sitemaps to a WordPress website.
How to Create an XML WordPress Sitemap
A great effective way to do this is to use a plugin. The best two WordPress plugins for this purpose are Yoast SEO and Google XML Sitemaps and we are going to use them in this guide.
If you want to improve your site’s SEO then this is the plugin you need to install purposely for this task. The WordPress plugin takes care of all the technical aspects of your site and also allows you to track readability and keyword density on your content. Besides all these, this plugin can also help you create XML sitemaps.
The first thing to do is install the Yoast SEO from the WordPress plugin directory if you don’t have it yet on your website. Once you have done that and activated the plugin, head to SEO -> General in your WordPress dashboard, and enter the Features tab. Below XML sitemaps, you will see the On Button. Click it. After that, you will need to click on See the XML Sitemap link to generate XML sitemaps of your site. This action will take you to a page with a list of sitemap URLs of your site.
Google XML Sitemaps
This is another plugin that provides an easier way to generate a WordPress sitemap for several search engines. This is also a nice plugin to add sitemaps to all WordPress pages and custom URLs. What makes it even better is how it automatically notifies major search engines when you post or publish new content. If you don’t have it yet, install and open the configuration page by going to Settings >> XML-Sitemap. You will find your WordPress sitemap URL here.
Creating an HTML Sitemap Page for WordPress
For this task, you will need a different plugin and that is the WP Sitemap Page plugin. Install and activate it on your WordPress website. Once you are done, click on Pages -> Add New, to set up a new page. Depending on where you want your sitemap to be visible, add this shortcode:
Click on Publish and visit its URL if you want to preview your HTML sitemap when you’re through.
Submitting WordPress XML Sitemaps to Search Engines
The next thing you need to do is to submit the XML sitemap URLs you have just generated. The two major search engines are Google and Bing. Before submitting your sitemap to Google, verify your website first via Google Search Console. Once you have verified your site, to find your website, on Google Search Console, go to Index -> Sitemaps. After that, enter your WordPress sitemap URL and click on the ‘Submit’ button. You will have to wait for a few days for Google to review your submission before it starts crawling your web pages. You can also create a different sitemap for images if your website has numerous images or photos.
Sitemaps are great if you want your website to be user-friendly. They also make your website visible by making it easy for search bots to crawl and understand your website structure easily. This leads to your site ranking high in search engine result pages.