What is Sitemap XML?

September 21, 2020

Chances are you’ve been doing some research on how you can improve your site’s visibility on search engines… and chances are you’ve come across the term “sitemap XML”.

And then you saw what an xml sitemap was and you though, “what in the…”

What is sitemap XML?

An XML sitemap is essentially a map that tells search engines like Google and Bing where your pages are, and how important they are. It makes those search engines web crawlers much more effective in finding all the pages on your site!

Do you need an XML Sitemap?

Yes. XML sitemaps are good for every site, no matter how big. Of course, the bigger your site, the more effective an xml sitemap. There’s really no good to decide you don’t need one!

The big benefit of having an XML sitemap is so that your content can be found more easily by search engines, in turn making your content more easily found by folks looking for you! In the same way that minifying javascript can improve your SEO, or realizing that a CDN is worth it, an XML sitemap is one of those little things you can do to improve your chances of being found online.

How to add an XML Sitemap in WordPress

Here are 2 great options we like in WordPress for your XML sitemap. Just head over to your admin area’s plugin page, and search for either one. Just install and activate!

Rank Math
Rank Math is the new recruit: great appearance and execution, but not as much experience. RankMath is far easier to understand than Yoast. The interface is more straightforward and easier to follow. Check out how to configure sitemaps in Rank Math.

Yoast
Yoast is kind of the old guard: the old soldier who’s seen it all. They’ve been around a LONG time and still do a pretty good job. The interface can be a bit tough, but when it comes to SEO, they leave very few stones unturned. Learn more about setting up Yoast’s XML Sitemaps.

How to add an XML Sitemap to other sites

Having a CMS like WordPress definitely makes managing your site better–we always recommend that instead of a custom solution. If that’s not an option, though, you can use the free version of the generator at XML-Sitemaps.com. Just head over, put in your URL and click “start”.

The free version generates a sitemap with up to 500 records in it–good enough for most small sites! Just download the sitemap.xml file, and upload it into your website’s root directory.

 

Make sure you check our YouTube Video above to see how you can use an XML sitemap on your site!

by Jonathan Watson

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