Having a big website with hundreds or even thousands of pages is great! But you also start running into some issues.One of them is the search engine robots having a hard time finding your newer content. If they can’t find your fresh content then they can’t index it. In other words, you won’t ever see any traffic from the search engines to your recent web-pages.
So what can you do to solve this issue? Well, that’s exactly what you’re about to learn…
- What is a XML Sitemaps
- How to install Google XML sitemaps
- How to use and setup Google XML sitemaps
What Is A XML Sitemap?
The search engine robots will have an easier time finding your newer content by installing Google XML Sitemap. Besides, don’t think you should only install this plugin when your website is gray and old. No, as a good practice you should immediately install it in every single website.
You also have other options, such as Yoast SEO WordPress. This plugin is a complete SEO package but still you have XML sitemap feature included.
I’ve been talking about it but what exactly is a sitemap after all… here’s an example:
In a similar sitemap as this one, you will have every single link in your website. The robots can easily jump from one web-page to another by using this sitemap. As a result, they are able to more easily find and index all your content.
Also don’t worry even though this web-page is ugly as hell, it is only for the robots to see. Your visitor can only view it if for some odd reason they decide to type in the sitemap’s URL in their browser.
How to Install XML Sitemaps?
For you to install this plugin just go to your WordPress dashboard and follow the next steps:
1 – Choose the plugin section and press installed plugins
2 – In the next page write in the small search box, “Google XML sitemaps”
3 – You’ll see several plugins but make sure to install the one shown in the image below
4 – Just press install now and activate. You’re done!
How to Setup XML Sitemaps?
The standard configuration is great for most websites! But still you may want to make a few tweaks so continue reading to learn more…
Just head over to settings and you’ll see a new section called, “XML sitemap”. In the top of this page, you’ll immediately see your sitemap URL.
Notify Google about updates of your blog – You’ll instantly notify Google each time you publish or edit a page. This may make the crawling of your website faster.
Notify Bing… – Same as mentioned above but instead for Bing.
Add Sitemap URL to the virtual robots.txt file – This file gives instructions about your website to the robots. You may tell them to not visit a specific web-page etc. Anyway, sometimes robots have a hard time finding your XML sitemap. For this reason, you should include the sitemap URL inside the robot.txt.
Advanced options and Try to automatically compress… – These options aren’t important nowadays so I’ll pass on.
Include a XSLT stylesheet – You’re only seeing a XML sitemap stylesheet at the moment. But the machines see the sitemap in coding as shown below:
This option enables you to see the stylesheet or the coding page.
Include sitemap in HTML format – The robots sometimes aren’t able to read the sitemap in XML. You can give them an alternative sitemap in HTML(web coding) by enabling this option.
Allow anonymous statistics – This sends anonymous information about your WordPress version, etc to the plugin owner. This data helps them improve their plugin.
If you have your blog in another part of your website and not as your front-page. You should consider using this features for instance:
- You may set a higher priority for it
- Increase its change frequency (number of updates made)
As a result, your blog section may get crawled more often and your newer content indexed more quickly.
Here you have three options, including:
1 – Do not use automatic priority calculation – Your pages will have the priorities defined by you
2 – Comment Count – Use the number of comments in a post to calculate its priority. In other words, a post with more comments will receive a higher priority.
3 – Comment Average – Uses the average comment count to calculate the priority.
Note: Just choose the most suitable option for your website.
You are able to choose the pages displayed in your sitemap. Let’s say, you don’t want your category pages included then just leave unchecked its box.
Include the last modification time – This helps the search engines more easily see when your content was updated. I recommend for you to leave this option checked.
If you want to exclude any given page from your sitemap. For instance, a particular category; or web-page. In case of a web-page, you need to get its ID.
You may set the change frequency of each page depending in the amount updates received. If you publish new posts in a daily basis then you may consider increasing the change frequency of your blog section.
You may define the importance of each page in your website. You can do a few tweaks here but the standard configuration is pretty good.
Note: These two last options probably will increase the rate the search engine send their robots to your website.
Yuppy! Now you have everything set and ready to roll! Just go the top of your setup page and click on, “your main sitemap and all sub-sitemap” link. You will immediately notify the changes done in your website to Google, Bing and other search engines.
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