Submitting a Sitemap
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is an important tool for a website that contains a list of all the webpages on a website. It allows search engines to easily locate, access and index pages. If your website is well-constructed, it is easier for search engines to understand the depth of the material and adjust rankings based on user experience and navigation. Submitting a sitemap is relatively straightforward and can be done using a few different methods.
The first method is to use the search engine’s webmaster tools. Most search engines offer their own webmaster tools and this is a great way to submit your sitemap to the engine. Simply login, navigate to the webmaster tools page and submit the link to your sitemap.
The second method is to directly submit your sitemap to the search engine. Many search engines allow you to submit a sitemap via an URL or via a direct upload. Once your sitemap has been submitted, the search engine will begin indexing it.
If you have a WordPress website, you can also install a plugin that will allow you to submit your sitemap directly to the search engine. This is a quick and easy way to make sure your website is properly indexed, however, keep in mind that the more plugins you install on your WordPress website, the more vulnerable your website becomes to hackers.
What to consider before submitting a sitemap?
Before you submit a sitemap, you need to make a sitemap. There are four principal steps in making a sitemap.
You can better understand how to work through these steps with this full guide to creating a sitemap. Once you have created and verified a sitemap with search engines, you can submit.
For Google or Bing, you can easily submit the profile through your site tools. Go into your Google Search Console and open the sitemaps portion to submit the address of your sitemap. The Bing process is similar, simply involving visiting your Bing Webmasters Tools and navigating to the sitemaps widget. You can find out more about building out and submitting a sitemap on Google here:
Submitting a sitemap to Google:
Understand the structure of your page
Sitemaps are a blueprint of your website that help search engines find, crawl and index all of your website’s content. Sitemaps also guide search engines toward which pages on your site are most important. It’s best to organize your website into a hierarchy, and keep the pages that are most important to the website, closest to the URL.
Format URLs with XML tags
Below is an XML coding format example for you to follow:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
The following information is included in the code:
Note that Change Frequency must be accurate otherwise Google and other search engines are unlikely to pay attention to it. If you tell Google the URL changes weekly but it actually changes yearly, most search engines will not increase their crawling on the URL.
Verify URL codes
With manual coding, human errors are possible. In order for your site to function properly and have an opportunity to rank well, strive for error free pages. You can use an XML sitemap validator to make sure your sitemap is error free.
Add sitemap to robots.txt
After validating your sitemap and your URL coding is functional, you should add your sitemap to the robots.txt. The Robots.txt file tells spiders which file directories should be avoided.
Setup a Google Search Console
Use the Google Search Console to submit a sitemap to Google.
Submit a sitemap to Google
When the aforementioned steps are complete, you are ready to submit your sitemap to Google where you can easily navigate submission.
By following these steps, you should have no problem submitting your sitemap and making sure your website is properly indexed by search engines.