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Why do you need a sitemap for your website?

When it comes to SEO, all the articles on the Internet says about submitting your website to search engines.

Especially if you have a blog, they explicitly tell you to submit the sitemap of your articles on the different webmaster tools available, which includes Google search console, Bing Webmaster, etc...


This is mainly because when it comes to crawler bots, it cannot automatically goto all the articles on a blog without having a root map.

Sitemaps will solve and help crawler bots which all pages are to be crawled.

What is a Sitemap?

Basically, a sitemap is a page where it lists all the articles, images, videos and other files present on a website.

It helps search engines like Google, Bing to collect all the URLs present on your website to index.

A sitemap can be also used to inform web crawlers about the last modified date of the content. This will help them to update the indexed webpage.

Sitemaps play an important role in telling the newly available pages on a website. Every blogger who keeps writing articles should have a well-formatted sitemap for their blog.

Should you really need a sitemap for your site?

It is completely optional to provide a sitemap for your website.

If you do not really want your content to indexed correctly or if you have a site with very less number of pages. 

You can skip adding a sitemap to your website.

But if you need your content to be indexed by search engines correctly and you have a large number of pages present on your blog/website. You will need to generate a sitemap for your site.

When I say generate sitemap, I don't want you to create manually a sitemap.

You should always consider your CMS (Content Management Platform) to automatically create and update it for you.

It is always good to have a sitemap for a blog because it can tell the search engine crawlers about all the important pages to index.

Also, it will give other related information like the last modified date, and the location of different languages, etc...

You should note that when you submit a sitemap to Search Console, it will boost the SEO of your site.

How do I create a Sitemap?

It is always better to automatically generate one sitemap by your CMS.

Managing and updating a sitemap manually is not at all good idea to think.

If your blog is on Wordpress platform, it is recommended to use a plugin to generate sitemaps. Plugins can really help you in creating sitemaps related to articles, images and videos present on your blog.

And if you use Blogger the default sitemap can be accessed from the /sitemap.xml for blog posts and /sitemap-pages.xml for pages. On Blogger, the sitemap is auto-generated with all the necessary information. 

Steps to generate a sitemap for your Wordpress blog

Generating a fully optimized sitemap for a Wordpress blog is really simple with the help plugins like Yoast SEO.

In this tutorial, I would be using the Yoast SEO plugin for generating sitemap for the Wordpress blog.


If you haven't installed the plugin yet, you can install it from the Add New Plugin section by searching for Yoast SEO.

After you have successfully installed and configured the basic settings in the Yoast Plugin. You can start to follow these steps.

Note that according to the version of the Yoast SEO Plugin, the setup can vary.

Step1: Click on the Yoast SEO option in the menu section. You will be directed to the General section of the Yoast SEO.


Step2: From there, navigate to the Features Tab. And scroll down to find the 'XML sitemaps' settings.

Step3: Now, all you need to do is to Toggle ON the XML sitemaps options and save the changes. The sitemap will be automatically generated by the Yoast SEO plugin for you.

That's it. Now you can find your generated Sitemap link on the same page itself.

Just click on the hint '' icon just right to the XML sitemaps.


And there you will see the link to the XML sitemap. Clicking on the link will pop open a new tab to the index of the sitemap.


Now you can copy the sitemap URL(s) and submit to Google search console, Bing webmaster, etc...

This can significantly impact your blog's SEO.

What about generating sitemap for Blogger?

It is taken care of by Google (Blogger Team) itself. And it is accessible from <-YOUR_SITE_NAME-->.blogspot.com/sitemap.xml for articles and <-YOUR_SITE_NAME-->.blogspot.com/sitemap-pages.xml for pages in the blog.

And when you submit your sitemap to Google, it is recommended to submit both the articles' and pages XML sitemaps.

Remember the sitemap index generated using the Yoast SEO plugin. In that case, you only need to submit the sitemap index to Google Search Console.
 

Generate a sitemap for a non-blog site

If you have a blog (most probably hosted using a CMS), creating a sitemap won't be a hard task for you. 

I have explained about it in the above steps on how to create a sitemap for a Wordpress blog and to get a sitemap for a Blogger blog.

But when it comes to creating a sitemap for a site which not based on blogging, for ex: tools website. Most probably, you need to manually create a sitemap for the site.

And I have already mentioned that creating a sitemap by yourself is not a good idea.

So, how to tackle this problem?

Yes, you probably guessed it right. Why not use an external service to generate a possible sitemap for your site.

Even though it may not be a complete and perfect sitemap for your site. But it works. And that's good news for someone new. And you can add the missing pages to the created sitemap later.

How to submit your Sitemap on Google Search Console?

After creating the sitemap of your website. You surely need to submit to Google.

Only then Google can intelligently index your site accordingly.

To submit the sitemap to Google, they have provided us with a free tool, and that is the Google Search Console.

So, how to do it?

I hope you have already verified your domain name with Google Search Console. If not, set up and verify your domain with Google Search Console.

After finishing your verification with Search Console, you can navigate to the sitemap section on the menu under your domain.


On the Sitemaps page, enter your blog's sitemap. And submit it.

After you have successfully submitted. Google will show the submitted date, status of the sitemap, and also the number of discovered URLs on the sitemap.

Note that Google allows you to submit in different formats such as XML, RSS, mRSS, Atom 1.0, and Text. And one single sitemap file can only have 50MB in size and should not exceed 50,000 URLs.
 
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Conclusion

Using a sitemap is completely optional. If you use it, it can help the search engines to intelligently crawl your website without missing any.

It is always recommended to use an automatic way to create a sitemap for your website. Manual creation can be complex and time-consuming when you update the blog periodically.

Finally, make sure to submit the sitemap of your website to different webmasters out there. It can really help you in speed up the crawling and re-crawling process.
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