Google and other search engines such as Bing use XML sitemaps to easily crawl your website and see when certain pages have been updated. As a bare minimum, you should have an XML sitemap; it would be even better to submit it to Google’s and Bing’s Webmasters Tools.
WordPress doesn’t come with an XML sitemap, and the easiest way to create one is to use a plugin. The best two plugins available are Yoast SEO and Google XML Sitemaps. Both are free to download and use, and will easily create a sitemap which is ready to be crawled by search engines.
To check that the sitemap module is activated, hover over “SEO” on the left menu and then click “XML Sitemaps” and ensure that it’s enabled.
The default setting is perfect for most requirements and the sitemap index can usually be found at the following address:
You have other options where you can also enable user sitemaps to include every author on your website. You can also set what type of posts you want to include, exclude specific posts, and edit taxonomy settings.
Yoast is an excellent choice because it comes with a whole host of SEO options for WordPress and can optimize every aspect of your website.
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin does exactly what you think it would and creates an XML sitemap in a Google-friendly way. In many cases, users who opt to use All in One SEO Pack usually use this plugin. All in One SEO Pack is a popular alternative to Yoast SEO, but it doesn’t include an XML sitemap module. Therefore, you’ll need to add one separately and that’s where Google XML Sitemaps comes in.
This plugin has all the same settings as Yoast’s plugin, but it also comes with extra features. For example, it can ping major search engines about any changes you have made, and you can also set priorities and frequencies of page updates to encourage Google’s crawlers to return to your website more often.
By default, the URL to the sitemap is:
Google XML Sitemaps is a great choice if you’re not using Yoast’s SEO plugin.
After you have successfully got your sitemap set up, you should submit it to the major search engines. Both Bing and Google have Webmaster Tools. Sign up and register your website and then submit your sitemap. You only need to submit sitemaps once, and search engines will send their crawlers back to your website and keep checking for new or updated content.
Sitemaps are an important aspect of SEO and should be used at all times. WordPress doesn’t offer this functionality out of the box and the easiest way to create sitemaps is to use a third-party plugin. This is a simple fix to what could potentially be a big problem for your on-site SEO and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.