How to Create a WordPress Sitemap?

Looking for a straightforward explanation on how to create a sitemap on WordPress? Then you’ve come to the right place because we explain it to you step by step in this article. You will also learn what a sitemap is and why it is essential to improve your Google ranking.

What Is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is used to display the individual pages and documents of your website in a clear and orderly manner. All desired subpages and URLs are listed.

Why Is a Sitemap So Important?

With search engine optimization (SEO) you bring your target group to your website. However, for your website to be found by search engines in the first place, your site must be free of any technical errors.

For optimal search engine placement, it is important to adapt your website to Google’s algorithm and at the same time ensure you meet the needs of your human readers.

With a sitemap, you make sure that Google can see the exact website content you created specifically for the search engines. Unnecessary and poorly optimized website pages can thus be removed from Google’s sight. In doing this, you increase the focus on your highly optimized content.

Sitemap Creation Service | BlogTec

Creating a sitemap can be a challenge for SEO beginners. That’s why we’ve created a step-by-step guide that can walk you through the process.

If you prefer to have your sitemap created for you, we highly recommend our Technical SEO Service. Here we take care of the technical off-page optimization of your website. This includes the creation of a sitemap!

What Types of WordPress Sitemaps Are There?

If you want to create a WordPress sitemap, there are two different formats:

  • HTML
  • XLM

Difference Between HTML and XLM Sitemaps

Creating an HTML sitemap means having a form of “table of contents” for your website. This offers your visitors the added value of simple and easy navigation. You don’t have to do it, but especially for large websites, it’s a good idea.

So, if a WordPress HTML sitemap is made for human use, you can say WordPress XLM sitemap is made for search engines. An XLM Sitemap particularly helps the crawlers of search engines like Google to find, collect and evaluate your website content on the Web.

WordPress Sitemap

Sitemap Creation: Do I Need a Plugin?

Before we start explaining how to create a sitemap in HTML and XLM, we want to tell you something about plugins.

A plugin allows you, among other things, to make enhancements to your WordPress site and set up, for example, a contact form. At the same time, it also enables the function of creating a sitemap.

Simply because it will be harder for you to create a WordPress sitemap without a plugin, we recommend that you use one.

How Do I Create an XML WordPress Sitemap With Yoast SEO?

One of the most popular plugins is Yoast SEO. Creating an XML sitemap for WordPress with Yoast SEO is super easy. Here’s how it works:

  1. Download Yoast SEO for free and install the plugin on your laptop or your PC.
  2. Activate the function. Select “SEO” in the menu of your WordPress Dashboard. Then click on the tab “Functions” and switch the function “XML Sitemaps” to “On”.

By default, the function should already be turned on after the download anyway. But it’s worth checking just in case.

How Do I Create a Google XML Sitemap on WordPress?

An alternative to Yoast SEO is the plugin “Google XML Sitemaps”. Here how to use it:

  1. Install the plugin “Google XML Sitemaps” on your device and make sure that the generation of the sitemap is set to active.
  2. Go to your WordPress Dashboard to “Settings”, then to “XML Sitemap”. Now you can set up your Google Sitemap. For example, you can add subpages, exclude certain post types (WordPress sorts the content into “post types”), or automatically inform Google about website updates by setting a checkmark.

Due to the settings that you still have to adjust manually, the handling is slightly more difficult compared to Yoast SEO, but on the whole, it’s not rocket science!

XML: Good to Know!

With an XML sitemap, you disclose all content. In principle, this is exactly what you want. But make sure that you put everything that should not be made public for some reason explicitly on the “NoIndex”. For example, this includes your terms and conditions, imprint, and privacy policy, because they are irrelevant for SEO.

What Are the Options for Creating a Sitemap without a Plugin?

If you prefer not to use a plugin, a sitemap can also be generated with a code that has to be inserted in “functions.php” in your theme.

WordPress also allows an external tool for the creation of a sitemap. This is cloud-based and called the “XML Sitemap Generator”.

Submit Sitemap to Google

Now you have to submit your WordPress Google Sitemap to Google. Otherwise, it won’t be found at all. After submission, it will be in Google’s index.

There are two ways to do this:

Submit Your Sitemap to Google Manually

  1. Give your sitemap a simple name, for example, “sitemap.xml”. This way you can easily find it again, especially if you submit more than one.
  2. Upload the sitemap to your root folder. You can access your root folder via an FTP connection. For example, FileZilla is a free FTP client, but there are others.
  3. Go to your Google Search Console and select the button “Sitemaps” in the left menu.
  4. Now enter the path, or the wordpress sitemap URL and click on “Submit”.

Submitting a Sitemap to Google via Search Console

  1. open the file “robots.txt” in your root directory.
  2. Enter the URL to your WordPress Google Sitemap and put the command “Sitemap” in front of it.

If you need some more in-depth info on sitemaps, Google itself offers you a good introduction to the topic of sitemaps or even a tutorial for advanced users.

Remove Outdated Content?

Creating a WordPress Google Sitemap is relatively easy, but still requires some effort. That’s why you should first take a close look at your website to make sure the effort is worthwhile.

When you create your sitemap, you will inevitably come into contact with pages where their content is no longer 100% up to date. Here you should either perform content maintenance or make the pages invisible to search engines. We do not recommend completely deleting content that may bring traffic to your site. How exactly you remove outdated content, we have summarized in an extra post for you.

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