The major aim of every blogger or website owner is to increase organic traffic through different methods. Identifying the right keywords and optimizing the content accordingly is a great way to boost traffic to your website. This is part of an SEO strategy that is widely applied by marketers and bloggers alike.
However, for this strategy to work, it is important that the search engines are able to index your web pages so they show up in relevant searches. Creating a sitemap for your website is a great way to help the search engine spiders in crawling through your website.
Although there are several ways to create a sitemap, one of the easiest ways, especially for beginners, is through the Yoast SEO plugin. In this guide, we would be discussing in detail how to create a sitemap in WordPress using the Yoast SEO plugin and submit that sitemap to search engines.
What is Sitemap?
The sitemap, in simple words, can be understood as the map of your website. It is the file or page that has a complete list of all the other pages on your website. This helps users and search engines to navigate easily through your content.
Sitemaps are of two types: XML and HTML.
An XML sitemap is only suitable for search engines. It has a listing of all the pages in your website that are specifically formatted according to search engines. A WordPress XML sitemap contains metadata that can give more information to the search engines about what the web pages are all about along with details such as when it was last updated, the importance, and so on. This type of sitemap also helps search engines in crawling to your website in a better manner.
An HTML sitemap is better suited for humans. This website page contains a link to all the other pages on your website. A WordPress HTML sitemap is particularly useful in case you have a lot of content on your website. This content can be linked to the sitemap, making it more accessible to the users and first-time visitors.
Importance of Having a Sitemap
Although having a sitemap does not guarantee that the website content would be indexed, it can help in improving the crawling of the website. It is particularly helpful for beginner bloggers as better crawling would result in better search engine rankings, ultimately enhancing the organic traffic of your website.
According to Google, your website would benefit if it has a sitemap and it would never be penalized for one.
Creating a Sitemap with the Yoast SEO Plugin
After understanding what sitemaps do and their importance, it’s time to discuss how to create a sitemap using the WordPress sitemap Yoast plugin. Follow the steps below to create an XML sitemap using Yoast plugin:
Step 1: Download the Yoast SEO plugin
- Navigate to Plugins > Add New in the WordPress dashboard.
- Next, type “Yoast SEO” in the search box and select the button Install Now. When the installation is complete, click on
Step 2: Enable the Sitemaps
- In the WordPress dashboard, go to the left navigation menu, and navigate to SEO > General.
- Click on the Features
- Move down to the XML Sitemaps and enable the sitemaps. Move down to the bottom and click on Save Changes.
Step 3: View the Sitemap
- Next, move down to the XML sitemapsand select the question mark present on the right. It will display a link to ‘See the XML sitemap.’
- You will be able to see the XML sitemap.
Step 4: Edit the Sitemap
- Next, in the WordPress dashboard, navigate to SEO > Search Appearance.
- Select the desired content type from the top tag and choose the on or off switch for selecting the type of content that you want or do not want. The one that you do not want will be removed from the search results.
- One can also exclude any specific pages or posts from the sitemap. Save your changes before you exit.
Submitting the Sitemap to Search Engines
After creating a sitemap for your website, the next step is to submit it to the search engines so that they can recrawl and subsequently index your website.
Follow the below steps for submitting the sitemap of your website to Google:
- Sign in to the Google Search Console and choose your website. On the left, there would be a navigation menu, select and go to Crawl > Sitemaps.
- On the top, select Add/Test Sitemap.
- When the box appears, enter the xml and click on Submit.
For submitting the sitemap of your website to Bing, follow the below steps:
- Sign in to the Bing Webmaster Tools and choose your site. After navigating to the left sidebar, go to Configure My Site > Sitemaps.
- Enter the URL of your website in the box and select Submit.
Creating a sitemap for your website indispensable part of the SEO workflow. It can directly impact how search engines crawl and index your webpages. Plugins such as Yoast SEO are completely free of cost and makes it quite simple to create a sitemap. The above article has clearly illustrated how to create a sitemap in WordPress and further submit it to search engines for better SEO results.
Swathi S, an indispensable member of the Stan Ventures SEO team, is the current outreach specialist at the organization. Known for her way with words, Swathi is a frequent blogger who keeps a tab on the latest SEO updates and guest posting services at the firm.