Add XML sitemap in WordPress

Afbeelding Add XML sitemap in WordPress

In order to appear well in Google, it is important to first have your website indexed. This can only take quite a while, especially when your website is still relatively new. You can speed up this process by submitting an XML sitemap. You can read how to create these on your WordPress website here.

What is an XML sitemap?

But first: what does such an XML folder actually mean? Such an XML folder contains all the URLs of your website. By submitting these to search engines such as Google, you can let us know which pages can be indexed in the search engine. This folder also shows which links are most important for the website and how often they are updated. Search engines get a better understanding of your website, although this does not have to lead to better results in a search engine.

XML sitemap in WordPress

The easiest way to create an XML sitemap for your WordPress website is through the SEO Yoast plugin. By installing these you take a lot of work off your hands. You can read here how to create an XML sitemap and then add it via this plugin, as well as how you can then log it in to Google Search Console.

Create Sitemap with Yoast SEO

Open your WordPress website and go from ‘SEO’ 🡪 ‘Dashboard’ 🡪 ‘Features’.
On this page, scroll down and look for the option ‘advanced settings page’. Make sure it’s turned on. You’ll see this when ‘enabled’ is highlighted in purple. You can then save the changes at the bottom of the page.

In the dashboard of Yoast SEO you now get an option for ‘XML Sitemaps’. This is of course what you want. Click to go to all your sitemaps. You are now in a menu. Here it is important that you enable the functionality for XML sitemaps. Turn this option on and save your changes.

Now a link will appear in your image. With this link you can view the ‘Sitemap index’. Click. If you get a 404 error: don’t be alarmed. This is easy to solve by re-saving your WordPress Permalinks once. To do this, go to your settings and search for ‘Permalinks’. Then press save once, at the bottom of the page.
When the link works completely properly, you will be taken to a page where all the links to your website can be found. Here you will only see post-sitemap.xml or page sitemap.xml. This depends on the settings in Yoast SEO, but these two are the most important

Sign in website to Google Search Console

To submit your XML Sitemap, you must first log your website in to Google Search Console. For this you need a Google account, which can be either your own GMail account or a Business account. If you’ve created an account or signed in, you can go to Google Search Console.

When this page is loaded, you can click on an option for ‘add property’ at the top right of your screen. Do this and then enter the full URL of your website. Do not forget to fill in the ‘http://’ or ‘https://’. The red “add a property” button makes it logical to add your property to Google Search Console.

Google then asks you to prove that you own this link. This is easiest with Google Analytics. So make sure you install this plugin on your WordPress page. Then open Google Analytics and follow the steps you see in the Google Search Console. Once successful, you will see that your website is verified. Click on the blue button ‘continue’ to make everything final. Via the Search Console of your website you can now add the newly created XML folder.

Sitemap if with Google Search Console

Adding the sitemap is a fairly simple step. In the left bar you can choose ‘sitemaps’, with an icon in which an arrow points up. This will open a new window in which you can then upload the XML sitemap. Here you enter the name of the sitemap or sitemaps. To do this, choose ‘page-sitemap.xml’, even if you get more options in your XML Sitemap than this one. Then click on the blue ‘Send’ button. Now your sitemap has been added to Search Console! Have you published more than just pages, but also posts, for example? Don’t forget to repeat this step with the ‘post-sitemap.xml’ link.

Will my website now be indexed faster?

Now that you’ve submitted your sitemap, Google knows better which pages need to be indexed for your website. Google can now get started faster with that. Although the process is faster than usual, you may still have to wait a few days or longer. If there is progress in the process, you can see this via your own Search Console page. Here you can see how many pages have been indexed.

Keep in mind that indexing your web page does not guarantee how easy you can be found in Google. This depends on more factors than just your indexation. An indexed website can help with this, but is not the best thing you can do for this. To appear higher in the rankings, you will have to use SEO.

Do you want to check whether the indexation actually went well? Then copy the full URL (so again including http(s)://) and paste it into Google. For the full url, put ‘inurl’. Then, when your page pops up in Google, you know the process worked out well!

WordPress sitemap in brief?

Creating and adding a WordPress sitemap is therefore not too much work. Via Yoast SEO you can easily request your sitemap. By creating an account on Google Search Engine, you can then hand in this folder to speed up Google’s indexing process. An indexed website is not a guarantee for better findability in Google.

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