A sitemap is a critical element of any website, and WordPress is no different than custom sites. In this post, we’re going to show you precisely how to set up a sitemap within WordPress. As well, we’re going to show you how to submit those sitemaps to both Google and Bing. Both of which dominates search on the internet.

Key Learnings:

  • What is a sitemap
  • Why is it important
  • How to create a sitemap for a WordPress site
  • How to submit your sitemap to the search engines

What is a sitemap?

how to create a sitemap for a wordpress blog

Let’s start by defining a sitemap. A sitemap is actually a document that describes all the different pages and paths to those pages on your website. It’s an XML document. XML is a markup language used to help programs have some structure, so those automated crawlers like Google and Bing can easily read and find the pages of your website. In addition, that sitemap allows you to tell Google and Bing, what web pages you want to find and what pages you don’t want to find.

In the most basic form, it is a map to your website. Think about that for a moment. If you want to be index and found by people, how important do you think a map to your site becomes? Pretty important. Sitemaps make it super easy for a web crawler find all the pages and organization structure to your site.

Why is it sitemap important?

Google and Bing, once you submit your site, will crawl the pages of your blog or website for meaningful and relevant information people will be searching for online. Both search engines are pretty good about finding the pages without a sitemap. The way they do that is through links to other pages in your site. But if you have pages that aren’t linked or are left stranded on your site organization, there’s a chance that the search engines may miss it.

And you may have a page that you don’t want a search engine to crawl. With a sitemap, you can indicate a page to be ignored during the crawling process.

Basically, it’s pretty important to have a sitemap on your WordPress site. The good news, it’s super easy. I’ll show you how and it’s free.

Creating Sitemap for your WordPress Website

For WordPress, you could manually create a sitemap, but that would be silly. There’s a well-established plugin for WordPress that we’ve used for all our sites. It’s called Google XML Sitemaps. Don’t worry, it’s not just for Google, but takes care of all search engines. To do that do these steps.

  1. Go to plugins in your WordPress
  2. Do a search for “Google XML Sitemaps
  3. Install Google XML Sitemaps plugins
  4. Activate plugin

WordPress Sitemap

That’s it. Once you activate the XML sitemap, you’re good to go. It’s that simple.

If you want to block search engines, there are two things you need to mark on the page or post.

NOINDEX – Indicates to the search engines to ignore your page.

NOFOLLOW – Indicates to the search engines not to follow links within your page.

But keep in mind, not all crawlers will adhere to your wishes, but at least the main one will respect your indications.

Submitting Your Sitemap to Google and Bing Webmaster Tools

If you’re new to WebMaster tools, let me explain quickly. Whether or not it’s Google or Bing, the webmaster tools enable you to track keywords, search demographics, and other vital information to track how well you’re website is performing within a particular search engine.

Here are a couple of great tutorials on setting up Webmaster Tools. Before you go to watch the videos below, make sure to get your account setup. It’s free.

Submitting a Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

Watch this show video; we go through details of setting it up.

Submitting Sitemap to Google

Submitting a Sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools

Watch this show video; we go through details of setting it up.

Submitting Sitemap to Bing

 

In Summary

Having a sitemap for your WordPress blog won’t stop search engines from finding, indexing, and getting the important pieces of your website to the public, but it will assist in getting your website index and found easier and faster. And having a sitemap on Bing/Google webmaster tools only provides additional information that any serious blogger or business person will find valuable. We hope this helps in defining how to create a sitemap for a WordPress blog or website.

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