When it comes to creating a Wordpress sitemap, you have the choice (with any site) to add both an XML and HTML sitemap. In essence, search engine crawlers use XML sitemaps to understand the site architecture, while site visitors can utilize HTML sitemaps to find a specific page of your site without having to search much.
Because both can be created in Wordpress, and it doesn’t hurt to have either, it’s often recommended you add both to your website. This way, you can ensure both site visitors and search engine crawlers can fully understand the organization of your site’s content. Having said that, let’s take a look at how you can create a Wordpress sitemap in both XML and HTML form.
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Wordpress Sitemap: XML
Wordpress makes creating sitemaps quite easy. You can simply add a sitemap plugin to your Wordpress site and follow the steps accordingly. If you use the “Yoast SEO” plugin, you can add “XML Sitemaps” and enable the plugin. From here, you can add media, like images, to your sitemap which then allows the images to be indexed and available in image search.
Better yet, the Yoast plugin allows you to optimize your website's title tags and meta descriptions. It will also give you a readability and SEO score, which will further help you optimize your website for search engines to help improve your search results rankings.
You can also use the “All in One SEO” plugin similarly to create your XML sitemap on Wordpress. This gives you similar capabilities as Yoast, including XML sitemap creation. With this plugin, you can get access to Google Accelerated Mobile Pages support, which is key to optimizing your website for mobile browsers. Regardless of which plugin you choose to create your website’s XML Wordpress sitemap, you will need to update it each time you add a new page to your website so it is always up to date.
Creating an HTML Sitemap on Wordpress
While you can simply add an XML sitemap plugin to your Yoast SEO and similar plugins, it works a bit differently when adding an HTML sitemap to your Wordpress site. However, it’s still fairly simple.
- First, you’ll need to add the “WP Sitemap Page” plugin, which is free.
- Next, you can then customize the sitemap settings to display or not display specific content.
- From here, you can add your sitemap to any page of your choosing with a shortcode, which is included with the plugin. These shortcodes will let you further customize the sitemap and how certain aspects are displayed.
- Add the sitemap shortcode in the footer of your website. This is a typical place for such, and users and crawlers will have an easier time finding it.
If you’re just getting started on building your website, it’s a good idea to create your sitemap at this time as well. This way, you can set it up to make adding content in the future a much smoother process. Otherwise, creating a sitemap once you already have a long list of pages on site could be a more difficult task.
Submitting Your Wordpress Sitemap
Of course, in order to help improve your search result rankings with your new sitemap, you need to tell search engines you have a sitemap and where it’s located. We’ve provided quick steps to submit your sitemap to both Google and Bing below. While you can choose the search engine your site visitors use most (you can find this in the StatCounter web tracker), it makes sense to submit it to multiple. Regardless, follow the steps below to submit your Wordpress sitemap to the according search engines:Google
- Login to Google Search Console and select your website
- On the left, click “Crawl” and then click “Sitemaps”
- Click “Add/Test Sitemap” then enter “sitemap_index.xml”
- Hit “Submit”
- Login to Bing Webmaster Tools and click your site from the “My Sites” page
- Next, click on “Configure My Site” then click “Sitemaps”
- Enter the URL for you sitemap
- Hit “Submit”
Importance of Sitemaps
Given that XML sitemaps help search engines understand the content and architecture of your site, which can improve search result rankings, they’re highly recommended for every website. Also, the same goes for HTML sitemaps. These can be quite helpful to users who’d like to find a specific page on your site quickly, especially if your site architecture isn’t optimal. Regardless, each type of sitemap is beneficial, and neither will harm your site. If you don’t already, be sure to add each type of sitemap to your site.
Monitor Success with StatCounter
Once you’ve created your sitemap and submitted it to the appropriate search engines, as well as continue on with your SEO strategies, it’s advised you monitor your efforts with StatCounter. We provide a range of detailed metrics to help you see where traffic is coming from and how visitors are interacting with your site. You can then use this information to determine where your site needs improvement, as well as what strategies are working.
Of course, if you have any questions, you can contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
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