Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

A Sitemap is the hierarchical representation of webpage contents that tells the search engines about structure of a website. A XML Sitemap is especially made for search engines and bots to crawl. It assures search engines to easily and quickly indexing all pages of the website in an ordered way. In WordPress Platform, there are a lot of plugins that can generate XML Sitemaps. Out of them, Google XML Sitemaps is one of the most popular (with 1+ million active installs) and frequently updated plugin that generates XML sitemaps and notifies major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com etc.) about the changes in website automatically as per the settings defined. In this post, I will show steps to create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin.

Features of XML Sitemaps Plugin
  • The plugin generates XML Sitemaps that helps properly indexing of the web pages.
  • The plugin notifies search engines about the changes of post contents each time a new post is created.
  • You can choose Pages, Posts, Archives, Categories, Tag Pages, Author Pages, Static Pages, Homepage etc to be listed in the sitemap.
  • Categories and Posts can be excluded individually from the sitemap.
  • Posts/Pages changes frequency and priorities can be set for each types of WordPress standard content.
  • URL of the sitemap generated using the plugin is http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml by default, where yoursite.com is the concerned website.

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Step 1. Plugin Installation

Installing the plugin is very simple. Go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New. Then search for the keyword “Google XML Sitemaps Plugin” and click on the “Install Now” button. Then click on “Activate Plugin” to activate it.

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Now, the setting page can be accessed through Dashboard > Settings > XML-Sitemap . This setting page configures and controls the generation of XML Sitemaps.

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Step 2. Generating XML Sitemap

Once the plugin is activated, sitemap is generated at yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

For first time, search engines are not notified about the sitemap generated. To notify search engines, click on your sitemap or your main sitemap and all sub-sitemaps link. Then a notification appears as “Google/Bing was successfully notified about the changes. This confirms the sitemap is generated and submitted to the search engines. After generating the sitemap for the first time, many setting options can be changed through the settings page. These are;

Basic Options

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

  • Notify Google about updates about your blog: Google is notified about the updates on web pages.
  • Notify Bing (Formerly MSN Live Search) about updates about your blog: Bing is notified about the updates on web pages.
  • Add sitemap URL to the virtual robots.txt file: Sitemap link to virtual robots.txt can be added.
  • Try to increase the memory limit to: Memory Limit can be increased to 4M or 16M etc.
  • Try to increase the execution time limit to: The sitemap execution time can be limited.
  • Try to automatically compress the sitemap if the requesting client supports: Compressing the sitemap as per client request is possible
  • Include sitemap in HTML format: Sitemap generation in html format is also possible
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Additional Pages

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Through this section, you can specify any pages or urls that should be added to the sitemap with priority and last changed date. E.g.; If the website is inside a sub-directory and the root contains the homepage, then the homepage needed to be included in the website sitemap.

Post Priority

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

Under this heading, one can select three options for calculating priority of the post when crawling from search engines. These are either selecting priority based upon comment count or using comment average or not using automatic priority calculation. If automatic priority calculation not used, all the posts uses the same priority for indexing in sitemap.

Sitemap Content

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

This section assures that if the option is selected for homepage, posts, pages, categories, archives, author tags and tag pages, they are included in the sitemap. This also allows including the last post update/modification time.

Excluded Item

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

This section lets the user exclude the categories and individual posts using their posts ids.

Change Frequencies

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

This section lets the user to set the pages/posts change frequency. In normal condition, if a page is set to “Daily” would crawled more frequent than the other page whose change frequency is set to “Monthly”.

Priorities

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

This section lets the user to set the priorities which is in the scale of 0.1 up to 1.0. This number will define the priority to the search engine about which pages to give more preferences.

After making these changes, click on Update Options button. This will update the settings defined and the sitemap will be rebuilt using the updated settings.

Create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

In this way you can create XML Sitemaps using Google XML Sitemaps Plugin

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Dhiraj Bikram Khadka

Dhiraj Bikram Khadka

Dhiraj Bikram Khadka is a Freelance Technical Writer cum WordPress Developer. He has been working in this area since 2006 AD. As a Web/WordPress Developer, he works on HTML/DHTML, CSS, PHP/MySql, javascript, jQuery, AJAX and more... Having a degree of M.E. (Information Systems Engineering), he is more interested towards contemporary developments in golbal technical arena. His hobbies include reading articles about Theoretical Physics, travelling and making friends. He is currently working as techinical writer for mustbeweb.com.

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