What is Google XML Sitemaps

Description Description

In this lesson, you will learn how your site might generate from an XML sitemap and how to create it using Google XML sitemaps plugin.

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Prerequisite Skills Prerequisite Skills

You will be better equipped to work through this lesson if you have:

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Learning Objectives Learning Objectives

Upon completing this lesson you should be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of an XML sitemap
  • Use Google XML sitemaps plugin to generate a sitemap for your website and submit it to search engines.

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Assets Assets

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Screening Questions Screening Questions

  • Do you have a self-hosted WordPress.org website (vs. WordPress.com website)?
  • Do you have a user role that allows you to install plugins?
  • Have you made a backup of your site before installing any plugins?
  • Have you installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin from the WordPress.org plugin repository?

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Teacher Notes Teacher Notes

  • It is recommended that all students have made a backup of their site and have installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin before working through this lesson. If they have not, ask them to do so before they get started, but the specifics of how to do so will not be covered in this lesson.
  • The recommended way to approach the scenarios would be to demonstrate and explain the process first and then ask students to repeat the actions using their own devices, while you’re available for questions and troubleshooting if something doesn’t work out.

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Hands-on Walkthrough Hands-on Walkthrough

Introduction Introduction

When your website is already populated with all the design and information you need, one important part of maintaining it is making sure it’s easy enough for the search engines are to find your content. And this is what XML sitemaps serve for. For you to enhance the way search engines handle your website content, the following is required:

  • Create your site’s XML sitemap – and one of the most popular tools to do this is Google XML Sitemaps plugin
  • Submit the generated sitemap to the search engines of your choice.

In this lesson, we’ll define what is an XML sitemap in more detail and further look at handling sitemap generation in WordPress.

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What is an XML sitemap? What is an XML sitemap?

Sitemap is a list of pages on a website that is accessible to all users. An XML sitemap tells search engines detailed information all the pages that exist on their website, their importance, and how frequently you update your website. Sitemaps do not actually increase your search ratings, but when an XML sitemap is present, search engines can crawl your website better as it helps them to locate all the links that are there.

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How do you create an XML sitemap for your site? How do you create an XML sitemap for your site?

Let’s go ahead and use Google XML Sitemaps plugin to generate a sitemap for our website.

1. Install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin and activate it.


2. Once you have activated the plugin, go to Settings > XML sitemap.

3. Scroll through the page. There’s quite a lot of configuration options, but default values are ok for most sites. You may choose to modify frequencies and priorities of site materials. Update options if you decide to change them.

4. Click the URL to your sitemap just to take a look what’s there.


Below is an example of how an XML sitemap for your site might look like.


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How do you submit your sitemap to a search engine? How do you submit your sitemap to a search engine?

1. It used to be mandatory to submit a sitemap manually to the search engines, but now you can do it through the plugin. Click your main sitemap and all sub-sitemaps link at Settings > XML sitemap page.


2. Review the process status in the pop-up.


The plugin will automatically update your sitemap when you publish a post, so there is pretty much nothing more to do.

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Alternatives Alternatives

Other plugins often used for the purpose of generating an XML sitemap for a WordPress site are:

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Conclusion Conclusion

Well done! Now you have created an XML sitemap and successfully submitted it to search engines.

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Quiz Quiz

Why might an XML sitemap be useful for your site?

  1. To boost your search ratings
  2. To help search engines crawl your site
  3. To increase speed of your site

Correct answer: 2. To help search engines crawl your site


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Additional Resources Additional Resources