Submitting an XML Sitemap to Google and other search engines is an easy, and necessary, step in getting your SEO up to scratch. If you want your website content and weekly blog to be noticed by Google and other search engines, your XML sitemap needs to be a top priority.
So what exactly is an XML sitemap?
Google will give you the following definition:
“A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells the crawler which files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page.”
Here is a little example. Mr Googlebot wants to find, look around (crawl) and index your new website. First you need to let him know that it exists. There are so many new websites everyday that he simply cannot find yours unless you tell him it’s there in the first place. So you send him an XML sitemap. Mr Googlebot uses the map you have sent him to find and ‘crawl’ around your website and see for himself what it is all about. He makes notes on what information he finds on each page so that he can index (or classify) your information correctly, ready to show it to anyone who searches for something to do with a specific page on your website. When you add new pages or make updates, he uses your new map to check the updates and make changes to his notes. It’s simple really!
How do I create an XML sitemap for my website?
For this, we recommend Yoast! Here is a step-by-step guide as to how to go about submitting an XML sitemap through the Yoast! plugin here > https://kb.yoast.com/kb/enable-xml-sitemaps-in-the-wordpress-seo-plugin/
We have written a list of the basics of using Yoast with WordPress for your day-to-day SEO, which you can look through for more tips and ideas to get the most out of this nifty tool.
Is there anything else I need to do to submit my XML sitemap to Google?
Since Google really are the kingpin in the world of online search, it is important that you ensure that they definitely do have your sitemap. This involves using the Google Search Console tool to let Google know you manage the website and ensure they have the correct link to your XML sitemap for any further updates you make to it. At Flicker Leap we always submit XML sitemaps to the Google Search Console for new websites that we build or for a client looking for an SEO audit.
Hopefully you now understand what an XML sitemap really is and are more equipped to create one for yourself. Feel free to contact us should you need to look more seriously at your SEO efforts and how to improve both the quantity and traffic you are getting to your site. We offer SEO audits to help define where and how you can improve both your paid and organic search traffic.