In this article, we are going to talk about the sitemap of our website. I will try to explain with my words what it is, what it’s for, how you can create it, whether your website is made with WordPress, any other CMS or no CMS, and how you can upload this sitemap to Google.
What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is a .xml file in which a web map of your site is structured where it provides important information about how your web site is built, the pages, articles, images, files… it contains.
It is not just a list of all the pages and subpages that your website has but also shows very useful information for search engines about each of them: the frequency with which each URL is modified, the latest update, importance of some pages with respect to others, and so on.
What is a Sitemap used for?
After explaining what a Sitemap is, what do you think it might be important for? As little as you know how SEO positioning works and our dear friend Google, you can intuit that this Sitemap will help Google read our website, right?
Indeed, by creating a sitemap of our website and giving it to Google, we are making it easier for Google to read and understand our website more easily. We’re telling you how many pages we have, how many articles, how many files and how our website is structured.
When is it important to create & upload a sitemap?
- It is interesting that you always create a sitemap of your website, but even more so if your website is very large, as Google may not crawl and much less, index, each and every one of the pages and entries of your website.
- It is also very interesting if your website has isolated pages and little linked both internally and externally, for the same reason as the previous point, because this way you will not forget to crawl these pages.
- Finally, it is also very important to create a web map of your site if it is new. You’ll make it appear on Google much faster, because if it has few external links yet, it may not detect your site.
- In addition to ensuring that Google accesses your site through the use of your sitemap, you must also pay attention to other aspects so that your website is better “considered” as pages not found … we recommend that you read these articles;
🢂 Error 404: Error 404 or 404 not found is a very common error in web pages, is a very bad user experience that wants to navigate to a particular website and does not get the desired response and is also penalized by Google.
🢂 Safe page: Google Search is giving more and more important to safe and high-quality web pages, and thus improving its SEO positioning. Learn how to install the SSL certificate on your server.
How to create a Sitemap?
Okay, well, I see that it is useful to make a Sitemap of my web page but… how do I do it? Well, I’m going to show it to you next.
Whether your website is built with WordPress or not, you can make the sitemap thanks to very simple online tools, such as this: sitemap generator
⏺ In this, what you will have to do is place the URL of your website and then start scanning it.
When the scanner is finished, click on “View sitemap details”.
⏺ Here we will be able to see all the details of our sitemap: each one of the urls of our site, the frequency with which each one is modified, which has been the last update and the priority.
⏺ If you click on “View Full XML Sitemap” you will see the sitemap.xml file. But what we are really interested in is downloading this file to upload to our website.
▶️ Go to your hosting’s File Manager, or via FTP, and upload the sitemap.xml file to your website. The best thing is to upload it to public_html, without putting it inside any folder, so that the path of the file is: yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. You can also create a new file in public_html and name it sitemap.xml and paste your sitemap in the new file you created.
How to Create Sitemap in WordPress?
If you have WordPress you probably have the Yoast SEO plugin. If not, I strongly recommend that you install it, because it is worth a lot to improve your SEO positioning. There is a good number of other plugins also, you can try that suits you.
Well, Yoast SEO automatically creates your sitemap. To see if you just have to add sitemap.xml behind your domain. For example, yourdomain.com/sitemap_index.xml. It’s that simple.
You can configure what you want to appear and what not to appear in your sitemap within the Yoast SEO plugin options.
How to upload Sitemap to Google?
Well, we’ve already created our Sitemap. All we need to do now is tell Google where it is so that it can analyze our website more intelligently and efficiently.
To do this, go to the Google Search Console. In the new version of Search Console, go to Sitemaps, in the menu on the left. Once here, add your Sitemap by entering behind your domain the path where your Sitemap is. In the case of the previous example we have seen of WordPress, it would be: “sitemap_index.xml”. Click Submit and you’re done, you’ve already submitted your sitemap to Google.
Also, in this section of Search Console you can see and analyze your Sitemap if it is correct or has any error, when was the last reading, how many URLs it is reading, etc.
If you are using the old version of Search Console, go to Tracking > Sitemap, and click the Add or Test Sitemap button. Enter the URL and click Submit.
And this would be all, as you see, is nothing more than helping Google to crawl your website, it is not mandatory, but you know that in SEO everything helps and the easier you put it to Google (and other search engines) better. I have it clear, I always make a sitemap of the web pages I do.