Today’s question is about WordPress XML Plugins and comes from Darren in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I’m looking for a way to automatically generate an XML sitemap for my WordPress Website and then have it automatically ping search engines with this new sitemap. I’m not sure if I need to download a separate XML Sitemap Plugin for this or if my SEO plugin will work.
What is a Website’s Sitemap?
A sitemap is a specific file, or “webpage” that webmasters can list all the web pages of their site. This file has a purpose – to let Google, Bing, Yahoo, ASK, and other search engines more efficiently know about the structure and organization of the pages that make up your website.
It’s highly recommended that you utilize a sitemap.
For use in this example, I’ll use Cubicle10 to explain a simple way to find your sitemap’s specific url.
In a later video, I’ll address how to submit your sitemap into Google Webmaster Tools.
You may check to see if your website has a sitemap by entering a specific URL into your browser. You will want to replace the domain name (yourdomainnamegoeshere.com) with your own domain name and correct extension (.com, .net, .org, etc.).
Watch this 5.5 minute video about how to configure XML sitemap setting in Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin
Try one of These URLS to Locate Your Sitemap
or maybe try:
If you notice a 404-error or a page that “doesn’t exist”, then chances are, your sitemap may either be located at another URL or your website doesn’t have one generated yet. Depending on your content management system (CMS), there may already be a sitemap created; you’ll just need to do some research as to where / what URL it’s located. Try doing a Google search for the location of your CMS sitemap location.
How to Create an XML Sitemap for Your WordPress Site Using a Reputable Plugin
There are two sitemap Plugins I am familiar with and would recommend.
When I am faced with making a decision as to which WordPress sitemap plugin to use, personally, I am looking for the one with the most downloads and then make sure the reviews are solid. I also consider the other features of that plugin. Sometimes you’ll be able to find an acceptable plugin that does a lot of things in one and others that are very specific to a certain task.
Two XML Sitemap Plugins I Recommend for Your WordPress Website
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This is one of the preferred, (almost) All In-One SEO Plugins for WordPress that both creates an XML sitemap, and pings certain search engines to notify them of updates to pages, blog posts, etc. There’s a lot of other, different settings in this plugin that make it a great, but if you’re just looking for an XML sitemap generator that pings search engines, but don’t need or require all of the functionality of the SEO tools, then look at option #2.
Google XML Sitemaps by Amee
This plug in is well supported and updated regularly. Its sole purpose is to generate your sitemap and submit updates to the popular search engines like Google and Bing. If you want flexibility and more setting to customize your sitemap, and don’t require all the SEO tools built in, then I’d go with this plugin.
If you already have the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast, then here is how to make sure your settings are correct for generating a sitemap with this plugin.
- Log into your WordPress Dashboard
- On the left sidebar, scroll down until you see SEO – either click on SEO or hover over the word with your mouse cursor and a sub-menu will appear
- Click on “XML Sitemaps” in the sub-menu
- At the top of the page, make sure the box is checked to “enable XML sitemap functionality”
- Then, click “Save Changes”
- You should see a new button show up just below the check-box
- Test it by clicking on the “XML Sitemap” button. This should take you to the URL of your sitemap
If you see something like the following, then you’ve successfully generated a sitemap and now you know what the URL is.
In order to submit this sitemap in Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll want to copy the URL and then paste it into Webmaster Tools. Stay tuned… I’ll create a how-to video for submitting your Sitemap URL in Google Webmaster Tools.