** This is an introductory article about creating sitemaps**
This sitemap generator for Google tutorial will show you step-by-step how to submit your website sitemaps to Google. This is a simple process I recommend website owners do to increase the likelihood of getting good placement within Google search results.
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is a list of pages within your website that are accessible to crawlers or readers. It’s typically presented in the form of a web page or file that lists the pages on your website in hierarchical fashion.
What is a sitemap generator for Google?
A sitemap generator automatically edits your sitemap as you add, subtract or modify content on your website. A sitemap generator for Google is one created that is compatible with the free service Search Console offered by Google.
Do I need a sitemap for my website?
According to Google: If the pages within your site are linked correctly, their crawlers can typically find the information they need without a sitemap. However, a sitemap can still improve their crawlers’ ability to locate your content, especially if:
- You have a huge website. Having sitemaps will better the chances of nothing being missed by Google.
- You have content that isn’t linked together. If there are pages that are independent of your archives, such as a landing page or past archived content, Google’s crawlers may miss it using their standard crawling methods. A sitemap will outline all of your pages.
- Your website is new and has very few sites linking to it. Google’s crawlers go from one site to another on a day-to-day basis. If your new website isn’t referenced by others, your sitemap will give Google a heads up your website exists.
- Your site uses rich media. Video is a good example of rich media. By using sitemaps, Google can get information pertaining to that rich media and index your video in Google’s video search.
Non-Wordpress Users: Below I’ll be outlining installation of Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress. For a general HTML tutorial I recommend getting the most current solution directly from Google.
Click here to view their current instructions.
**As with any modifications to your WordPress website, I recommend creating a full backup of your website prior to making changes.**
Sitemap Generator For Google, Step 1: Install the Yoast SEO Plugin
There are a lot of sitemap generators for WordPress. I prefer the solution created by Yoast. If you’d like to try another plugin, feel free to install it and follow their setup instructions. Once installed, skip to step 3.
- In your WordPress dashboard on the left-hand side, hover over “Plugins” and click on “Add New.”
- Search for “Yoast SEO” in the search bar on the upper-right part of the page.
- Click “Install Now” and activate.
Sitemap Generator For Google, Step 2: Find Your Sitemaps
- Click on the “SEO/XML” Sitemaps tab of the WordPress dashboard.
- Click the “XML Sitemaps” button. (If you get a 404 error, follow these instructions)
Sitemap Generator For Google, Step 3: Google Search Console Setup
- Open a new tab in your browser, and go to Google Search Console.
- Sign up for Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools).
- Add your site to your Google Search Console Account. Click Here for Google’s current how-to. (When adding your site, pay particular attention to using www, if your site’s primary domain does. Make sure to also use https:// if you site uses sitewide SSL.)
- Once added, click the thumbnail of your site to get into the search console settings.
- From the left sidebar, select “Crawl/Sitemaps.”
Sitemap Generator For Google, Step 4: Add your sitemaps to Google Search Console from your WordPress dashboard
- Click Add/Test sitemap.
- Open your tab with your WP dashboards sitemaps. (see step 2)
- Copy and paste the “/yoursitemap.xml” into the add/test sitemap field. (see screenshot)
- Click “Submit Sitemap.” (you can also click test to try it out and see what will happen. You can always submit as a secondary step)
- Click “Refresh Page.”
That’s it! Upload the others using the same method, and you’re set!