Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to XML Sitemaps
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An XML Sitemap is a file containing the list of all the URLs for a website. It provides navigation assistance to search engines for crawling and indexing the entire website quickly and effectively. It’s added to the root directory and not visible to the visitor. It also helps find URLS that may not be discovered by normal crawling processes.
An XML sitemap enables effective and quick navigation of your site for the search engines and the users. The XML sitemap’s hierarchical list of all your webpages will ensure that your site is found and indexed effectively by the search engines. This auto-generated and organized structure allows visitors to find your webpages easier.
Generating and adding an XML sitemap to your website should be an integral component of any SEO effort. Before implementing a sitemap, make sure your pages are published and that there are links to all of the live pages.
Below, we outline all the steps you need for XML Sitemap success:
… So let’s get started!
Step 1: To check the presence of an XML Sitemap on your website, enter the following domain on your browser: http://www.EnterYourDomainName/sitemap.xml. Be sure to replace EnterYourDomainName with your website URL.
Step 2: If your website has a sitemap installed, then you will see a sitemap displayed.
If not, you will notice a 404 error message page. View below for more information on creating a successful sitemap.
Step 1: To create a sitemap, you will need to use a quality generator to help automatically create one for you, such as XML-Sitemaps.com or Google XML Sitemaps (if using a WordPress plugin). For the example below, we will demonstrate with http://www.xml-sitemaps.com.
Step 2: Enter the full URL name of your website, and click the start button.
Step 3: This full process may take a while based on the number of pages and information volume of your site. Once your website is completely crawled, it will redirect to the sitemap download page.
Step 4: Choose and download the sitemap in your desired format.
Step 5: The next step is to upload the sitemap to the same folder that contains your website homepage.
Step 6: Check if your sitemap was uploaded properly. One verification method is to visit the URL: http://www.EnterYourDomainName.com/sitemap.xml. Replace EnterYourDomainName with your website URL. Adjust the setting preference if the sitemap does not turn out correctly. With a completed sitemap, you can now submit it to the search engines.
Step 1: Open the Google Webmaster Tools page. Sign into your Google Webmaster account with your username and password.
Step 2: Enter your website URL, and click on the ‘Add a Site’ button.
Step 3: After adding your website, Google Webmaster requires you to verify your website. Download the HTML file and upload to your site. Follow the instructions to complete the full verification.
Other verification options include: Domain name provider, Google Analytics account, Google Tag Manager account, or HTML tags.
Step 4: After you successfully verify the website, view the “Sitemaps” option on the right side of the webpage. Click on “Sitemaps” to add your sitemap to the Google Webmaster tool.
Step 5: Click the “ADD/TEST SITEMAP” button to add the sitemap URL.
Step 6: Type ‘sitemap.xml’ next to your domain name. Then, click “Submit Sitemap.”
Congratulations, you successfully submitted an XML Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools!
Step 2: Click “SUBMIT A SITEMAP” on the right side of the page.
Step 3: Add your XML Sitemap URL and click “Submit.”
Congratulations, you successfully submitted an XML Sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools!
UpCity members, follow the pathway to complete this task in your UpCity account: Optimize your Presence > Advanced Presence Optimization > Website 301: Advanced Site Optimization.