Are you a WordPress beginner who is searching for a better plugin to easily index your website contents? Or having problems in indexing your website contents? If yes, this post is specially for you to help you better index your site on Google search results.
Here I’m going to talk about Google XML sitemaps plugin, it is a free WordPress plugin that helps you better index your website contents without any hassle. When we think of doing search engine optimization for our WordPress blogs, one of very few things that comes to our mind is how to go about indexing it on Google and other search engines.
We can improve the indexing speed of our WordPress blogs through Google XML Sitemaps. But the question arise is how we can create them. Since you are using WordPress, there must be some Google XML Sitemaps plugin available that you can use to generate automatic XML Sitemaps for your WordPress pages and posts etc.
That’s true there are some plugins available in WordPress Plugins Directory that we can use to create XML sitemaps for WordPress blogs. Today I’m going to talk about Google XML Sitemaps Plugin for WordPress from Arne Brachhold. I myself have been using this plugin on Bloggers Passion blog as a way to get my blog contents crawled faster in all major search engines including Google,Yahoo and Bing etc.
What is a sitemap?
Organizing contents in one file on your website by listing the web pages of your sites to let search engines like Google easily crawl your website. In simple words, a sitemap is the driver of your website which helps search engines to easily navigate your content. Without a sitemap, your contents won’t get indexed on Google search results. Without getting indexed, no one can find you for any keyword you want to rank for. So having a sitemap for your websites or blogs is a must.
Why is sitemap important?
Many WordPress beginners ask questions like “I’ve a newly created website, do I really need a sitemap? If yes, why do I need one”. If you are one among them, I’ll answer your question.
A sitemap is essential for deep crawling of your website contents. By having a sitemap, Google bots find it easy to crawl your site contents, and you can also tell Google which contents to crawl and which contents to avoid. For instance, you don’t have to show tags, categories of your websites on Google search results as it shows duplicate pages of your sites and you might get penalized by Google panda updates.
So by using a search engine friendly plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can de-index unnecessary stuff to show on Google like tags or categories.
You can use Google webmaster tools to submit your website sitemap. It’s recommended to have an account on Google webmaster tools to not only install a sitemap for your website, but also fetch manually if you have to.
In a summary, create a sitemap and submit it to Google webmaster tools to faster, better and deeper indexing of your website contents.
How to Install Google XML Sitemaps Plugin
There are two methods you can actually use to install this Plugin into Your WordPress blog. First method is downloading the plugin into your local drive and then uploading into plugins directory with the help of an FTP client. You can download the latest version of Google XML Sitemaps Plugin from WordPress Plugins directory here.
There is second and easiest method that can be used if you are installing a plugin, available in WordPress plugin directory. Most of the time I used the second approach where we can install a plugin directory from our WordPress Dashboard:
Step 1: Go to Plugins link available in left navigation menu and click Add New link
Step 2: Make Search with Google XML Sitemaps term in the search box available. Most probably, the very first link that you will see in the list of Google XML Sitemaps plugin list is By Arne Brachhold.
Step 3: Click Install Now link available and then one popup will open up asking you whether you want to install this plugin or not. Click Yes from the opened popup window
Step 4: Next window will show you that this plugin has installed successfully now you just need to activate it by clicking the Activate Plugin link available
This is how you can easily install this plugin into your WordPress blog in 2 minutes time only.
Features of Google XML Sitemaps Plugin by Arne Brachhold
Here are some features you will love about Google XML Sitemaps plugin:
- XML Sitemap plugin is available for download from WordPress 1.5 version to the latest version. So whichever WordPress version you using, you can use this plugin to create XML sitemap for your WordPress blog.
- You can easily customize lots of parameters like setting priorities, XML sitemap location, Content types for which XML Sitemap need to be generated and change frequency etc.
- Can send automatic notification to Google, Yahoo and Bing about the latest changes in XML Sitemap.
- Available in many languages and can create sitemap for any type of WordPress pages.
- This plugin can generate both Static XML file and Zip file.
How to Submit Google XML Sitemap
Google XML sitemap file will be automatically uploaded in your website root folder. You can access your WordPress blog latest XML sitemap file by accessing this URL format in address bar: Yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml.
Since your XML Sitemap file is now up on your website and it’s time to submit your XML sitemap into major search engine including Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can submit your XML Sitemap file to Google by create a Google Webmaster Tools account here. You can submit your XML Sitemap to Yahoo and Bing by creating an account on their webmaster tools.
You can also use different tools like XML-sitemaps to create sitemaps for your websites online. This will help you easily crawl your website pages upto 500, if you have beyond them, you can use their pro version tool.
Few questions related to sitemaps
1. How much time does it take to index my contents?
Google takes its own time to index your website contents, if your website is relatively new, it might take some more time as you might have very less contents to crawl. If you want faster results with a sitemap to crawl or index your website content, use fetch as Google button and fetch your sitemap in Google webmaster tools.
2. What if you contents are not getting indexed by Google?
Check the theme you are using, sometimes free or cheap WordPress themes include complex coding and Google finds it hard to analyze and crawl your website. If you’ve a search engine friendly theme like Genesis, Thesis etc. it would become very easy for you to get your site contents crawled by Google. Also check for any problematic plugins, uninstall and delete the plugins and then see if the problem got solved.
3. Would you have to resubmit your sitemaps after adding new pages?
No. You don’t have to submit your sitemap again and again whenever you update information on your websites if you are using Google XML sitemaps plugin. Simply install the plugin, and it updates your content information on Google search results whenever you make any changes on your sites.
In a nutshell: A sitemap is just like a map that helps Google crawlers to easily index your site contents. You can better index your website content by using a simple plugin like Google XML sitemaps. The great thing about the plugin is, it is not only free to use, but it also helps to efficiently index your sites without doing any additional work from your end.
Don’t forget to get yourself an account on Google webmaster tools and submit your sitemap after installing this plugin. Whenever you encounter problems in indexing your contents, use “Fetch as Google” option to manually index your websites. Although this option has limited features but it is immensely helpful if you want to quickly index few important pages of your sites.
I hope the tips mentioned above will help you Generate XML Sitemap Automatically for your WordPress blogs using the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin and then can submit it to Google and other search engines. And for standard websites, you can create XML sitemap for free from xml-sitemaps.com website.
Do have any more tips or additional tools to create a sitemap for a website? Which plugin are you using to create sitemaps or or you submitting your sitemaps manually? Please share your thoughts in the comments.