A sitemap.xml is a machine-readable listing of all your website subpages. It helps search engines, such as Google, to fully incorporate your content into their search index. This accelerates the crawling process and reduces the risk of the crawler missing subpages.
Furthermore, the file can provide information on specific content, e.g.:
- information on the website's pictures or videos, such as the duration and the content of a video
- general information on the website, such as the date of the last update
This is the requirement for your website to be found via Google. There are different ways to create a sitemap.xml.
Creating sitemap.xml With WordPress
WordPress can automatically create a sitemap.xml using plugins:
Install one of these plugins in your WordPress administration panel and activate the creation of sitemap.xml as described in the plugin guide.
Creating sitemap.xml Manually
Many content management systems (CMS) provide plugins for creating sitemap.xml files. These plugins automatically keep the sitemap.xml up to date and ensure a correct format.
If you create your website without CMS or your CMS does not support sitemap.xml, you can also create a sitemap.xml manually.
- Create a file called sitemap.xml with a text editor of your choice.
- Include in the file a list of all pages that are to be found by Google.
Use the format described at Sample XML Sitemap.
- Upload the sitemap.xml file to the main directory of your website.
- Update the sitemap.xml file every time you remove pages or add new pages.
My Website Could Not Be Found by Google
Google uses a variety of criteria for its search results. Despite having a sitemap.xml, it is possible Google cannot find parts of a website. It can take between 8 and 12 weeks for a new website to appear on Google.
Check if your website is included in Google‘s search index. To do this, enter the following search term on Google: site:your-domain.com.
When your content appears in the list, Google already knows about your content. You should optimize your content in such a way that it is well placed with common search terms.
This rankingCoach to eliminate errors in the sitemap.xml.
There may be different reasons for your content not appearing in the list. In this case, follow the Google guidelines (Manage sitemaps with the Sitemaps report ) to eliminate errors in the sitemap.xml.