Sitemap is like an archive page. While archive page helps readers to find all posts in one page, sitemap helps search engine bots to find all links in one place so that bots can index them quickly.
Search engines will index your posts/pages even if your site doesn’t have any sitemap. But it will take much time when you don’t have any sitemap. Sitemap also makes sure that all of your important links get indexed by Search engines.
So having a sitemap is very crucial for a blog/site. If you are still wondering what sitemap is, here is the answer for you.
What is Sitemap in WordPress?
Sitemap is an XML file that contains a list of pages of a site accessible to search engine bots. It tells search engines about the organization of a site content. WordPress XML Sitemap tells the search engine about the pages in your site, their relative importance to each other, and how often they are updated.
Creating a sitemap in WordPress is extremely easy. You can do it by using a plugin. In this post, I will be sharing how to create a sitemap in WordPress by using Yoast plugin.
How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress
Follow these simple steps to generate a sitemap in WordPress.
Step #1: Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
At first, you need to install Yoast SEO plugin. It is the best WordPress SEO plugin. I’ve already written about setting up Yoast SEO plugin.
If you are already using Yoast SEO plugin, you can skip this step.
To install the plugin, go to WordPress Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and search for the ‘Yoast SEO’. The very first result will be Yoast SEO. Then click on “Install Now” button.
On the next page, click on “Activate Plugin” link.
Step #2: Create XML Sitemap
Once you’ve activated the plugin, a new tab “SEO” will be added on your WordPress admin panel. Just hover your cursor on “SEO” tab and click on “XML Sitemaps”.
Yoast SEO generates sitemaps automatically. Just make sure XML sitemap functionality is enabled (1). You can check your XML sitemap by clicking on “XML Sitemap” (2).
Your sitemap will look like this.
Showing this means your sitemap has been created successfully.
Sometimes, it may show a 404 Not found error. You can solve this problem by following this post.
Step #3: Configure XML Sitemap
Default settings of Yoast SEO for XML Sitemap are quite good. You can go with the default settings. However, you can tweak a few things to make your sitemap better.
The first tab is “General”. You don’t need to do anything here. Click on the second tab “User sitemap”. Here you can enable or disable author/user sitemap. I prefer going with the default setting which is disabled.
If you are running a blog with multiple authors, you may consider enabling the user sitemap.
The next tab is “Post Types” from where you can select which types of posts to include in the sitemap. By default, Yoast includes Posts & Pages in the sitemap. You will also find custom post types here. I prefer not to include custom post types in the sitemap.
From the next tab “Excluded Posts”, you can exclude posts/pages from the sitemap by entering Post IDs with a comma. Read: How to Find Post ID.
The last tab is “Taxonomies”. By default, Yoast includes categories and tags in the sitemap. I prefer not to include categories and tags in the sitemap. But it totally depends on your SEO plan.
Then click on “Save Changes” to save your settings.
Other WordPress Plugins to Create Sitemap
If you don’t want to use Yoast SEO or you are using another plugin similar to Yoast SEO, you can use other WordPress plugins to generate sitemaps for WordPress. Here is a list of 3 sitemap generator WordPress plugins.
With over 30 million downloads, All in One SEO Pack is considered as the best Yoast SEO alternative. It has almost every feature of Yoast SEO.
Like Yoast SEO, it lets you generate sitemaps for your WordPress site. This plugin also notifies Google and Bing about your sitemap. You can include or exclude post types, taxonomies, date archive pages, author pages from sitemap by using this plugin.
Premium SEO Pack is relatively new WordPress SEO plugin. But it’s growing fast. It offers a variety of SEO features to optimize WordPress site for speed and SEO.
It automatically generates multiple sitemaps for posts/pages, images, videos. It also creates location sitemap. This plugin is a good choice who wants to try a premium plugin.
This is a dedicated sitemap plugin that generates a special XML sitemap. It helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your WordPress blog.
Google XML Sitemap is rated as the best WordPress plugin with a rating of 4.9 out of 5. If you want to use a separate plugin to generate WordPress sitemaps, you can consider using this plugin.
Submitting Sitemap to Search Engines
Once you’ve created a sitemap for your WordPress blog, it’s time to tell search engines about your sitemap.
Though search engine bots are smart enough to find out your sitemap, submitting sitemap allows you to see different stats of your site which is very beneficial. You can read these two posts to submit your site to Google and Bing.
Over to You
I hope this post helped you to create a sitemap for your WordPress blog. If you found any difficulties while creating a sitemap, let us know via comment.
If you are using another plugin for sitemaps, share your experience with us.
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