Submitting sitemaps to the search engines is a significant step in technical SEO. Sitemaps address search engines to index the important pages of your website. This article primarily focuses on the submitting website’s sitemap to Google. This guide will be perfect for you if you have just started a website and face issues while creating and submitting a sitemap.
What Is The Sitemap Of a Website?
A Sitemap is an XML file with a collection of all the pages and other files on your website describing their relation. Search engines like google access these XML files as a directory, making it easier and faster for them to index the pages. The sitemap of a particular domain provides a neat and clean list of the links to the Googlebot crawler. Sitemap helps search engines with the updates to the content on the website.
This process of updating and submitting sitemaps of your website is quite important as it increases the ranking of your website with early indexing. But do you need to update your sitemap every time you publish a new post on your website? Well, the answer is NO.
There are specific WordPress plugins that automatically update and submit sitemaps to the search engines on a regular basis. For websites not using WordPress CMS, there are sitemap generators to get the job done.
How To Generate Sitemap Of A Website?
Methods for creating a sitemap for a website vary as per the content management system. The common method for generating a sitemap for a WordPress website is by using a plugin named Yoast SEO.
I will be illustrating you by creating a sitemap for a WordPress website. Start by installing and activating the Yoast SEO plugin. Now move to the dashboard of your WordPress website and click on the SEO option there. Click on the “General” tab. In general, tab click on “Features”. From all the features listed, you have to turn toggle ON for the XML sitemaps and click on the Save Changes button.
For viewing the sitemap, you have to go to SEO >> General >> Features and navigate to XML toggle. Click on the “Sign of interrogation” on the XML sitemaps option. Click on the “See the XML sitemap” option.
On clicking on the link, you will see the sitemap generated by the Yoast SEO plugin. Here is the snapshot of my website’s sitemap.
For the website not using the WordPress platform, it is not difficult to create a sitemap. There are online sitemap generators that create sitemaps for free. You can check out this sitemap Generator. It works for both WordPress and non-WordPress users. You just have to type in URL in the format: https://www.websitename.com.
How To Submit My Website’s Sitemap To Google?
Now, as you have created a sitemap, how will Google know about your sitemap. All you have to do is to submit the XML sitemap to Google. Here are the steps that will guide you further.
Visit Google Search Console and create an account there or sign in if you already have an account. If you have a website, then signing for google webmaster tools is the first thing you should do. Assuming you have already added your website to the search console. If you haven’t added your site to google console, you can use the Site Kit By Google plugin for WordPress websites to do the same. Now click on the Sitemaps from the left sidebar.
Paste the URL of your website’s sitemap and hit the submit button. You are good to go now. Google will process your sitemap for indexing and will notify you if there are any issues with it.
How To Check If your Website Is Perfectly Indexed?
Submitting a sitemap of the website is necessary for a larger website with more than 1000 pages, while most of the websites get indexed automatically without even submitting a sitemap. But in the case of larger websites, there are chances that Googlebot crawler may miss some of your pages. That is why submission of Sitemap is recommended.
To check if all of your website pages are indexed in Google, you can try a search using the operator “Site”. To proceed, you have to type “Site:https://www.websitename.com” in the google search box. This will list out all the indexed pages within google. You can have a rough idea as the results are not fully correct. Sometimes you might have even more indexed URLs than pages on your website. This is due to non-canonical URLs.
To perform an audit of indexed pages, you can visit the Google search console and check out the coverage tab given on the left sidebar. This will you show all valid, excluded, and invalid pages with links.
Dont’s While Submitting a Sitemap Of Website
Here are some points that you should be taken care of while submitting a sitemap of the website:
- Exclude non-canonical URLs as create issues in Indexing
- An ideal Sitemap shouldn’t exceed 300 URLs
- Check your website URLs before submitting the sitemap. Your URL structure should result in the target page.
- Avoid submitting multiple sitemaps to Google.
If you ask me if it is mandatory to submit a sitemap to Google. My answer would be NO for small websites and YES for websites with a larger no. of pages. Creating and submitting sitemaps is not a hectic task, but its technical name creates a perception like that.
I hope you learned the method to generate and submit the sitemap to Google after reading this article. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends facing issues with the Sitemaps.