How to Create a WordPress Sitemap: A Beginner’s Guide
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How to Create a WordPress Sitemap: A Beginner’s Guide

Using a WordPress sitemap can bring a positive impact to your website. Creating one helps search engine bots to crawl and index your site more easily. Thus, it’ll improve your web pages’ visibility to search engines.

How do you create a WordPress sitemap? In this article, we will show you what a sitemap is and how to create one in WordPress.

What Is a WordPress Sitemap?

A sitemap is a list that navigates both its visitors and search engines to every accessible page on a website.

However, sitemaps are even more important today from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) point of view. Here are a few reasons why WordPress sitemaps are important:

  • Sitemaps inform search engines about the changes on your website structure
  • They help bots with faster crawling and indexing
  • It helps search engines to index large websites with a lot of pages that are not well-structured or interlinked

Differences Between XML and HTML WordPress Sitemap

Sitemaps can be categorized into two types – XML and HTML.

  • XML – contains metadata together with the website’s URLs and all the information, including when a particular URL was last updated and how soon the changes occur, etc.
  • HTML – provides more straightforward navigation for the website’s visitors. Specifies where such pages as Contact Us or Shopping Cart are. It makes your site more user-friendly, helping boost your search engine ranking.

The main difference between the two is that XML focuses on the search engines, while an HTML sitemap is written for website visitors.

It’s recommended to have both WordPress sitemaps for your website. It ensures that you are not missing any essential elements related to SEO, guaranteeing the optimum experience of your visitors.

For new blogs with not so many backlinks, a sitemap helps in quick indexing of the web pages. Now, let’s see how to add both sitemaps to WordPress!

How to Generate an XML WordPress Sitemap?

One of the easiest ways to generate an XML sitemap is by using a plugin. Here are some of the best available options:

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins for improving WordPress website’s SEO. This plugin takes care of all the technical aspects related to content and helps you track the keyword density and readability. It can also assist you in creating XML sitemaps.

  1. Install Yoast SEO from the WordPress plugin directory.
  2. Once you’ve activated the plugin, navigate to SEO -> General in your WordPress dashboard, and enter the Features tab.
    Yoast SEO features settings in WordPress
  3. Click the On Button below XML sitemaps. Then, click See the XML Sitemap link to generate XML sitemaps of your site.
    Enabling YoastSEO XML sitemaps in WordPress
  4. You will be redirected to a page containing a list of sitemap URLs of your site.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin provides an easy way of generating a WordPress sitemap for a wide range of search engines. It can also create sitemaps for all WordPress pages and custom URLs. Furthermore, it automatically notifies all major search engines whenever new content is posted or published.

  1. Once the plugin is installed, open the configuration page by going to Settings -> XML-Sitemap. Here, you can find your WordPress sitemap URL.
    Using Google XML Sitemaps plugin in WordPress

How to Create an HTML Sitemap Page for WordPress?

Now, if you want to create an HTML sitemap page on your WordPress site, you can use the WP Sitemap Page plugin by following these steps:

  1. Install and activate the plugin. Set up a new page by clicking the Pages -> Add New.
  2. Add the following shortcode to where you want your HTML sitemap to be visible.
    [wp_sitemap_page]
  3. Once you’re done, click Publish and visit its URL to preview your HTML sitemap.

How to Submit WordPress XML Sitemaps to Search Engines?

Once the XML sitemap URLs generated, you can submit them to various search engines like Google or Bing.

Submit XML Sitemap to Google

Before we begin, submit your sitemap to Google by verifying the website’s owner via Google Search Console.

  1. Once you’re done, find your website through Google Search Console
  2. Go to Index -> Sitemaps
  3. Enter your WordPress sitemap URL and click Submit.
    Submitting XML sitemap to Google
  4. Now, allow a few days for Google to process your submission and crawl your pages.

If your site contains a lot of images or videos, we would highly recommend you create a sitemap for them as well.

Submit XML Sitemap to Bing

You can use the Webmaster tool to submit a sitemap to Bing. However, you need to verify the ownership of your website first. During the verification process, enter your WordPress XML sitemap URL and press Save.
Submitting XML sitemap to Bing

Conclusion

Sitemaps are beneficial for any website since their main aim is to create a user-friendly website. They can also help to secure the top ranking on search engine result pages and contribute to crawl and index your site more quickly.

If you have any questions, share them in the comment section below.

The Author

Author

Domantas G. / @domantas

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.

Related tutorials

Author

Kirill Reply

March 15, 2018

Thankkss so much

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on March 23, 2018

    Hi Kirill, Glad this tutorial helped!

Author

Hunter l Reply

March 18, 2018

Hi Lindsay Thanks for the detailed article. I tried creating sitemaps using Yoast SEO and Google sitemaps creator but i failed. When i go to mywebsite.com/sitemap_index.xml it says http error 500. I disabled yoast and enabled again, tried disabling all the plugins still unsuccessful. Is there anything i need to change in .htacess as well?

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on March 23, 2018

    Hey Hunter, There should be no need to change anything in your .htaccess unless you are using custom .htaccess rules. In this case, try switching back to default WordPress .htaccess: https://www.hostinger.com/tutorials/create-default-wordpress-htaccess-file

      Author

      Hunter l

      Replied on March 25, 2018

      Thanks for your response. I was using custom .htaccess After some digging found out the error is because of WP MEMORY LIMIT, I increased it to 256MB and it was fixed.

        Author

        Domantas G.

        Replied on March 26, 2018

        Hey Hunter, Glad to you know you manage to fix it!

Author

Aaron Reply

June 28, 2019

Domantas, WP Sitemap Page is only supported up to 4.9.10 as of this writing. What other plugins would you recommend?

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on September 24, 2019

    Hey Aaron, WP Sitmap Page creators updated the plugin. THere should not be any problems running it on latest WordPress version (WordPress 5.2.3)

Author

M Zeeshan Ansari Reply

July 29, 2019

Very nice!

Author

Satendra Kumar Reply

August 25, 2019

does sitemap help in google ranking

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on September 24, 2019

    Hey Satendra Kumar, Not directly. Sitemap.xml helps Google to discover what pages you have and index them.

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