How to create an SEO-boosting XML sitemap

How To Create An SEO-Boosting Xml Sitemap For Your WordPress Blog

How to create an SEO-boosting XML sitemap

To boost your blog’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you need to submit an XML sitemap to search engines.

When I was a new blogger I thought, creating an XML sitemap is difficult. Because it is called the Technical Side of SEO. Obviously, most of the new bloggers think that creating an XML sitemap needs coding knowledge as it is a technical thing.

But that is not true. Creating an XML sitemap is easy and it doesn’t need any coding knowledge. You can create it in a few minutes.

As a new blogger, first, you need to know what an XML sitemap is.

What Is An XML Sitemap?

An XML Sitemap is a roadmap for search engines. It shows search engines a way to crawl your blog. So that your blog can be found on the search result.

A Sitemap is an XML file. That’s why it is called the XML sitemap. XML stands for “Extensible Markup Language”.

An XML Sitemap contains the URLs of your blog for showing Search Bots the way to crawl your site.

Now the question is,

Do you really need an XML sitemap for your blog?

Yes, of course.

The reasons are,

  • If your site is big, search engines won’t crawl all the pages. An XML sitemap will help search engines to crawl all the pages of your blog.
  • If you submit an XML sitemap, search engines will almost instantly crawl your blog. It will help you to rank faster in search engine result page.
  • If your site is new, most probably your blog doesn’t have much external link profile. An XML sitemap helps to overcome this.
  • An XML sitemap will tell the search engine that you aren’t syndicating content.
  • An XML sitemap will tell Search Bot that your contents are unique and those are important to your readers.
  • An XML sitemap will tell search bot how often your content is updated.
  • If your blog has poor internal linking, an XML sitemap helps to overcome this limitation too.

I think you already have understood the importance of creating an XML sitemap for your blog.

So let’s learn…

How To Create An XML Sitemap?

There are various ways for creating an XML sitemap depending on the blogging platform.

As I told many times here in this blog that the self-hosted WordPress blogging platform is essential for successful blogging. So I’ll show you how to create an XML sitemap for a WordPress blog.

Don’t worry. It is easy.

The easiest way to create an XML sitemap is to install a WordPress plugin on your blog. It is the Yoast SEO plugin.

If you make a list of essential WordPress plugins then Yoast SEO will hold the top place on that list.

So I assume you already have that plugin installed on your blog.

If you don’t have then follow the guidelines below to install the plugin. If you already have that plugin installed then ignore this guideline.

How To Install The Yoast SEO Plugin?

To install this plugin,

  • Login to your WordPress dashboard > click on left side menu bar > Plugins > Add new.
  • Type Yoast SEO in the search bar on the opened window.
  • In the search result look for Yoast SEO. It should be on top of the search result. If you found that click on the Install Now button to install the plugin.

If you are having trouble installing the plugin read my detailed post “How to Install WordPress Plugins – Step by Step Tutorial for Beginner“.

If you have the Yoast SEO plugin installed you should have a menu named “SEO” in the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard.

In the sub-menu of that Menu (SEO), you’ll see a General option. Click on that.

SEO menu of Yoast plugin

You actually don’t need to create an XML sitemap. The Yoast plugin will do it for you. You just have to enable the sitemap functionality.

In the opened page, click on the Features tab.

Features tab of Yoast seo menu

Under the Features tab, click the On button below XML sitemaps.

Create an XML sitemap for your blog.

Now scroll down to the bottom and click on the Save changes button.

To verify that the Yoast SEO has created an XML sitemap, click on the question mark icon and then click the See the XML sitemap link as shown in the image above.

Example of an XML sitemap

If you see something like the image above then the Yoast SEO has successfully created an XML sitemap.

Damn easy. Isn’t it?

After creating an XML Sitemap for your blog it is the time for submitting the Sitemap to major Search Engines.

What Is The Search Engine?

When we search for something on the web, we get many results including the source link for our search term. Who shows us that results?

It is the Search Engine that searches the results on the web on our behalf and shows us on a web page.

I don’t want to talk much about the Search Engine here. Because it is now familiar to almost everyone.

Major Search Engines For Submitting An XML Sitemap

  • Google (Formerly Google Webmaster Tool)
  • Bing

Another one you may consider to submit a Sitemap is,

  • Yandex

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google Search Console?

How to submit an SEO-boosting XML sitemap to Google

If you ask me to suggest one Search Engine to submit an XML sitemap I would tell you Google. Yes, it is the giant search engine.

If you are in a hurry then submit your blog’s sitemap only to Google Search Console and you can ignore others.

Before submitting an XML sitemap to Google Search Console you have to add your blog to that first (if you haven’t done that yet).

Follow the steps below to add your blog:

Step 1: You’ll need a Google account (Gmail) to add your blog to Google Search Console.

Login to Google Search Console with the Google account. Once you logged in look for the ADD PROPERTY option (if you’re not automatically redirected to add a property). Click on that option.

Once clicked, a form will be popped up.

Adding a property in Google search console

Step 2: You can choose Domain or URL prefix. I recommend choosing URL prefix as it’s easy to setup. Enter your blog URL and click the CONTINUE button.

Step 3: Next you’ll be asked to verify the ownership of the blog. You’ll see multiple methods to do that. I recommend using the HTML tag method.

Veryfying a property in Google search console

Copy the code and paste in the <head> section of your blog. Then go back to the Google search console and click the VERIFY button.

But I don’t want to modify my blog’s HTML code manually as I’m not a tech guy. If you’re like me, you can use the Yoast SEO for this purpose.

Step 4: Go to WordPress dashboard > SEO > General and click on the Webmaster Tools tab.

Webmaster tools of Yoast

Next click on the Google Search Console link.

Step 5: Once clicked, you’ll be redirected to a new tab in your web browser. From there, choose the HTML tag option.

verifying website using Yoast

You’ll see an HTML tag. Just copy the code as shown in the image above.

Don’t close this browser tab. You need to come back to this page to verify your blog.

Step 6: Now go to your Yoast’s Webmaster tools in your WordPress dashboard and paste the code into the box that labeled Google verification code.

Yoast webmaster tools

Now click the Save changes button.

Step 7: Now go to Google Search Console‘s page that you left open in step 5 and click the Verify button.

Your blog is now verified on Google Search Console.

You can now submit your blog’s XML sitemap.

Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Go to Google Search Console‘s homepage and click on your blog’s URL.

Step 2: From the left sidebar click on the Sitemap.

Submitting an XML sitemap to Google search console

Step 3: You’ll see a text box. Write sitemap_index.xml into the box.

Submitting sitemap URL to GSE

Finally, click the SUBMIT button.

That’s it. Your blog’s XML sitemap is now submitted to the Google Search Console.

What next?

You may want to submit your blog’s sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools and Yandex Webmaster too.

How To Submit An XML Sitemap To Bing Webmaster Tools?

How to submit an XML sitemap to bing

Before submitting Sitemap, your blog needs to be verified with Bing Webmaster Tools.

For adding your blog to Bing Webmaster tools, you need to sign up for an account.

Step 1: Now visit the Bing Webmaster tools website and enter your blog URL into the field that appears and click the ADD button.

Adding a blog to bing webmaster tools

Step 2: On the next screen, enter your blog details including the sitemap URL, and then click the ADD button.

Adding an XML sitemap to the bing webmaster tools

Step 3: Bing will now ask you to verify the ownership of your blog. You’ll see multiple options. I recommend using the Meta tag method.

Just copy the code as shown in the image below and leave the page opened.

Meta code of bing webmaster tools

Step 4: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard in a new browser tab. Go to Menu > SEO > General.

Step 5: Click on the “Webmaster Tools” tab that appears on the page.

Step 6: Enter the copied code into the text box that says Bing verification code. Don’t forget to hit the “Save Changes” button.

Step 7: Next, go back to the Bing Webmaster Tools website that you left open and click on the Verify button.

Congratulation your blog’s XML sitemap is submitted to Bing Webmaster Tools.

These two search engines that you just have submitted your blog’s XML sitemap to are the major Search Engines. These are enough to submit your Blog’s sitemap.

But If you want to submit your Blog’s XML sitemap to the Yandex Webmaster tool read on.

How To Submit An XML Sitemap To Yandex?

Before submitting your Blog’s XML sitemap to the Yandex Webmaster tool, you have to add your blog to the Yandex first.

  • Go to this link and enter your blog’s URL.
  • Following the same procedure, I outlined for adding a blog to the Bing Webmaster tool to verify your blog on Yandex.
  • For submitting your blog’s sitemap to the Yandex webmaster tool, go to Yandex Webmaster and select your blog.
  • On the left sidebar > Indexing Option > Sitemap files.
  • Delete the existing Sitemap and enter a new one as http:// yourblog. com/sitemap_index.xml into the text box.
  • Now hit on the save button.

So far you have submitted your blog’s XML sitemap to three search engines. For submitting a sitemap to these all three search engines we have used Yoast SEO plugin.

One of the benefits of using Yoast SEO plugin to submit your blog’s XML sitemap is that you don’t have to update your Sitemap from time to time. It’ll be updated automatically. So you don’t have to be worried about this matter anymore. Just keep blogging.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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4 thoughts on “How To Create An SEO-Boosting Xml Sitemap For Your WordPress Blog”

  1. Hey Liton,

    Very informative and useful post.

    Many thanks for sharing this useful post with us. I really like the way you have put this article- a step by step process and making it very easy and simple to understand. Yes Liton an XML sitemap is very important and there are many reasons why it is needed for your blog.

    One of the main and most important reason is that it helps in increasing the blog traffic as well as helps in boosting the SEO rank. Thanks for sharing all this in such details like- how to create an XML sitemap and how to install the yoast plugin, how to submit this XML sitemap to google search console and how to submit it to bing webmaster tools. This blog is definitely going to help a lot to many of the new bloggers. Keep sharing similar posts.

    Regards,
    -Rijhu

  2. Superlative post with tons of ideas. Having XML sitemaps allows search engines to crawl & index a website sufficiently, and allowing all search engines to be notified of the website map by inserting it into the robots. txt file. In a nutshell, sitemaps enhance the ranking of a website in search engine results, thus boosting the SEO efforts.

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