If you are like many Bloggers out there seeking to optimize your website Search Engine Optimization or SEO, one of the fastest ways to get your content recognized is to Create a XML Sitemap and submit it to Google so as to smooth over the process and make Google bots task of crawling your Blog or website easier. This will in turn increase the chances of your Blogs content being indexed and showing up in search results. Win win right!
Lets get started!
Sitemaps may sound complicated but they are actually quite easy to create, especially with the tools available for WordPress users. The tool that I will be using for today task of creating a XML Sitemap is a simple all in one SEO tool that I have recommended before called: WordPress SEO by Yoast.
This Plugin is a must have for all users of WordPress and makes creating your XML Sitemap all too easy. You can also use this tool to optimize your SEO further by Claiming your Blog with Alexia free of charge. So once you have installed this life saver of a plugin from the link provided we will be ready to go. Once installed go into the dashboard of your WordPress blog and in the left panel there should be a new option called SEO. Simply rest the cursor over SEO and select XML Sitemaps and you should be in the sitemaps section of Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin.
How to configure Your XML Sitemap With Yoast WordPress SEO Tool?
Configuration is quite easy from here and all you need to do for your brand spanking new sitemap is to check the box that says: Check this box to Enable XML Sitemap functionality and if you choose to make sure that the option to Ping Yahoo! and Bing is check and Save Changes.
That’s it your site Map is created and you did not even break a sweat thanks to Yoast. To see your sitemap from the same screen click on the button beside: you can find your XML Sitemap here at the top of the page. The page you are taken to will show your sitemap, scrawny little thing isn’t it? you can explore it by click on the links provided and you will see that it simply outlines the structure of your website and makes it easy for Google bots to crawl your website and find all your content.
Important note, in the future there is no need to do this process again as your sitemap will be automatically updated whenever you write a post or create a new section in your Blog or website. Simply put it is install configure and forget.
What should I do with my sitemap now that it’s created??
Simply creating a sitemap and leaving idle is not good enough, you need to submit it to Google and Microsoft Bing webmaster tools so as to optimize your website for being crawled by there bots for indexing and adding your content to there search results which is what you really want correct? So submitting your sitemap is the most critical phase of this guide.
Submit your Blog and Sitemap to Google Webmaster tools:
Go to Google webmaster tools and if you do not have an account be sure to signup using your Google account. Once you are signed up and logged in if you have not added your website or Blog Already simply looked in the upper right of the screen and select add a site and put in your website URL, you will be asked to verify ownership of the website by adding a simple script to your Blog or website pages with a ID tag.
Do not worry Yoast WordPress SEO plugin from before will come to the rescue again. Simply click on the SEO option in the left panel from the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast and under the option for Webmaster tools select: Google webmaster tools and paste the Script you were given before with the ID tag and save changes. Go back to webmaster tools and confirm or verify that the code was installed and presto you have verified ownership if you did not add your blog before.
To finish things off select Your Blog or website in webmaster tools by clicking on it. In the dashboard you should see to the right the word sitemap,select it and click on the button in red that says: Add/test sitemap. There should be a box with your website name before it, simply go back to the sitemap generated by the WordPress SEO tool and copy the URL address minus the section with your website name. It should look like this: sitemap_index.xml and submit sitemap.
That’s it Google should accept it and it will take a little while for the indexing process to begin. Google will only index your content if its original, so there is no 100% guarantee that all your content will be indexed so keep your fingers crossed and check your webmasters tools after giving Google some time to do its thing.
Submit your Blog and Sitemap to Bing Webmaster tools:
If you submitted your blog to Google webmaster tools as above then doing it for Bing webmaster tools is even simpler. First log in or create a a Bing webmaster tools account , once you are logged in if you have not added your website do so by entering the URL of your blog at the top of the page in Bing Webmaster tools dashboard and selecting Add. Once you add your website you will be asked to verify it, do this by using Yoast WordPress SEO tool as above with Google webmaster tools. Click on SEO in the left panel of your WordPress website and under webmaster tools add the Bing verification ID tag under the section that says Bing Webmaster tools and simply save changes and verify from Bing Webmaster tools to add your website.
Once the website is added click on it and look for he button that says: Submit a sitemap and select it. From this point simply go back to your sitemap that the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin generated and copy the address and paste it into the field that says submit a site and submit it. That’s it simply wait a bit and Bing will crawl your website a index it similar to Google.
OK that should do it for you and get you well on the way to putting your website on the map to success. What did you think? did you find this guide useful? if so feel free to comment or suggest a better alternative, it would be much appreciated and thank you guys for reading.