You need a Sitemap if you are taking search engine optimization seriously, period.
Having a Sitemap gets your content indexed faster.
The best part?
You only need to do the work once and reap the benefits of it forever.
By the end of this short tutorial, you’ll learn:
- What a Sitemap is
- How to generate your very own XML Sitemap, for free
- How to submit your Sitemap to Google
Read related post: SEO Tips For Newbies: Ranking Your Blog Content
What is a Sitemap?
A Sitemap is a file that contains all the pages of your website, allowing Google to navigate your website more effectively. This allows search engines to index your website pages faster.
How do you generate a Sitemap?
Generating a Sitemap is extremely easy. There are a couple of quick ways you can create your Sitemap:
Free Sitemap Generator #1: Yoast SEO Plugin
If you have the Yoast SEO Plugin, there is a section for “XML Sitemaps”. Click on it, then enable it. Bam! You have your Sitemap ready. 🙂
Should you decide to use Yoast to generate your Sitemap, you can access your Sitemap at yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml
Free Sitemap Generator Option #2: Any other dedicated Sitemap Plugin
Just search plugins and you’ll find many, such as Google XML Sitemaps, which has been installed by more than 1 million users.
Submitting your Sitemap to Google
There are many sites that claim to help you submit your content to Google for a small fee. Please don’t fall for such schemes – you can easily do so on your own.
A great way to do this is to submit your Sitemap, and the rest of this tutorial will be dedicated to helping you with just that.
Submitting your Sitemap is important as it tells Google, “Hey, this is my Sitemap, come check it out!”
The result? Google knows that THIS Sitemap is YOUR Sitemap, and when a new post pops up in there, they will index it faster.
Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is the platform that Google has created to communicate with us webmasters.
What is Google Webmaster Tools for?
- If there’s something wrong with your site, Google will notify you there
- Submit your Sitemap
- Look at selected keywords you’re ranking for
- Track how your posts are doing on Google
You can submit your Sitemap to Google by signing up for Google webmaster tools.
If it’s your first time, click on “Add a property” and add your website.
Verify your website
Next, you need to verify your website. There are a couple of ways to do this – Google recommends that you download a HTML verification file and upload it to your website.
In your cpanel (which usually can be found at yourdomain.com/cpanel), go to your file manager and upload the downloaded HTML file there. You can contact your host for help, although it is pretty easy to figure out.
Submit your Sitemap
Now that you’re done verifying your website, it’s time to submit your Sitemap!
Head over to Crawl > Sitemaps and submit your Sitemap URL.
In a few days, check back in and see if it has been processed! 🙂
And there you have it – you now know what a Sitemap is, why you need it, how to generate one and how to submit your Sitemap to Google.
I hope this helps.