Are you searching for best guide to create a sitemap for your WordPress website? Sitemaps help search engines to crawl and just simply index your website. Think of them as a road map, but also for search engine bots and they are important for your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
In this article, we will explain how to create a sitemap in WordPress.
Learn About Sitemaps
A sitemap is a file where you provide the information about your website pages, posts, videos and other files and the relationships between them.
Search engines like Google, Microsoft Bing, YAHOO, Baidu and so many search engines read this file to crawl your site more efficiently. A sitemap tells search engines which pages and files in your site are important, and also provides valuable information about these files.
What is XML Sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists the important pages of a website, ensuring that search engines can find and crawl them all.
That also helps the search engines to understand the structure of your website.
You want search engines to crawl every essential page of your website, but sometimes, pages end up without any internal links, making them difficult to find.
There are 2 kinds of sitemaps commonly used:
- XML Sitemap
- HTML Sitemap.
While they share similar functions, there are some important differences. It is common for SEO professionals to use both search engine crawlers and in their strategy for targeting users.
What is the Difference Between XML Sitemaps and HTML Sitemaps?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists the important pages of your website, ensuring that search engines can find and crawl them with all the necessary data. XML sitemap helps the search engines to understand the structure of your website.
XML Sitemap Examples
HTML sitemaps are available on your website for users to browse or navigate. You can find HTML sitemaps in the footer of websites to help you navigate.
HTML Sitemap Examples
How to Use XML Sitemaps to Boost SEO
Over the years, XML sitemaps have become the key to building a long-term foundation for every website. Your quest to flourish within the realm of the web naturally depends on flawless XML sitemaps. It is no surprise that the recent popularity and awareness of XML sitemaps has managed to capture everyone’s interest. However, sitemaps are not new, as far as early SEO practices are known.
How To Create A Sitemap In WordPress?
There are several ways to create an XML sitemap in WordPress. I’ll show you various popular methods for creating XML sitemaps in WordPress, and you can choose the one that works best for you.
How to Create Sitemap in WordPress without Plugin
It allows you to automatically create XML sitemaps in WordPress without using a plugin. You can simply add wp-sitemap.xml to the end of your domain name, and WordPress will show you the default XML sitemap.
As of August 2020, WordPress did not have built-in sitemaps. However in WordPress 5.5, they released a native XML sitemap feature.
This XML sitemap feature was added to WordPress to ensure that no new WordPress website misses out on the SEO benefits of XML sitemaps.
However, it’s not very flexible, and you can’t easily control what gets added or removed from your XML sitemap.
4xx Things You Shouldn’t Have in Your Sitemap
A 4XX response code means that the requested page does not exist or that access is restricted, so in most cases, you do not want to include such pages in your sitemap.
404’s are deleted pages, so if such pages are intentionally removed, keep them off your sitemap. The same goes for soft 404 pages that were removed but still return a 200-level success status code. Soft 404s are generally not good for your SEO, so spend some time fixing this problem.
Another popular 4xx status code is 401—meaning Google is “not authorized” to access the page.
Normally, such pages are for logged-in users, and you don’t want Google to index them. Therefore, you do not need these pages in your sitemap.
3xx Items You Shouldn’t Have in Your Sitemap
There are 3xx redirect pages, and you may or may not want them on your sitemap depending on the redirect type.
A 301 response code means that a page has been permanently redirected to a new address and the original page no longer exists. Therefore, such pages should not be in your XML sitemap.
The only thing to remember in this case is to include the destination URL in the sitemap.
Create an XML Sitemap in WordPress using Yoast SEO
If you are using Yoast SEO as your WordPress SEO plugin, it also automatically turns on XML sitemaps for you.
First of all, you need to install and activate Yoast SEO plugin.
For more details, check out our step-by-step guide on how to install Yoast SEO plugin.
Create an XML Sitemap in WordPress using All in One SEO
The easiest way to create an XML sitemap in WordPress is to use the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress.
It is one of the best beginner friendly WordPress SEO plugin on the market that gives you a comprehensive set of tools to optimize your blog posts for SEO.
First, you need to install and activate the All in One SEO plugin.
For more details, check out the step-by-step guide installing All in One SEO Pro.
Note: Sitemap feature is also available in AIOSEO free version. However, to get the advanced news sitemap and video sitemap, you will need the Pro version.