While not detectable from your site’s design or other on-page features, a sitemap is a key component to the core of your website or blog and a crucial part to an overall strong web presence.
The foundation of good SEO efforts, a sitemap provides search engine bots the information they need to effectively crawl and index your site. The more pages bots index means the better chance your site has at coming up high in search engine search results.
This post features a specific WordPress plugin, but owners of other platforms can build a sitemap from within their Google Webmaster Tools account.
Installing the Google XML Sitemap Plugin
1. Navigate to theÂ Plugins section in the left sidebar of your WordPress dashboard, thenÂ Add New.
2. Enter “Google XML Sitemap” into the search field.
3. Install and activate the Google XML Sitemap plugin.
4. After activation, navigate to theÂ SettingsÂ section in the left sidebar of your dashboard, then click onÂ XML-Sitemap.
5. Since this is a new plugin on your site, you’ll need to click to build your sitemap for the first time.
6. By default, features like “Rebuild sitemap if you change the content of your blog” and automatic notifications to Google, Bing and Ask.com are already checked.
7. Also by default, the “Post Priority” section is set to Comment Count. Feel free to change this and any settings to match your preferences.
8. Another section of settings to check is the “Change Frequencies” section, as the Posts default setting is Monthly.
9. When you have made all your changes, be sure to click the Update Options button at the bottom of the page.
If you are ever curious to know the last time your sitemap was built, simply click on this plugin’s settings, and the date and time of the last build process will be located at the top of your screen.
Do you have a sitemap installed on your website or blog?
Thanks for this – I just installed the plugin as recommended, easy peasy.
I don’t have a sitemap, but thank you for posting the WordPress instructions. I am definitely going to do this.
Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I’m stuck at finding the Plugin section. Help?
Unfortunately, that’s one of the limitations with WordPress.com sites. WP.com gives you a handful of plugins by default, but doesn’t grant you access to the massive plugin database that self-hosted WPs sites get.
Do you have some other sort of sitemap plugin that is a default on WP.com?
I don’t think so. I was wondering if it was something like that. Thanks anyway.
I’d go ahead and build one through Webmaster tools then. It’s a great thing to have.
I did some poking around at WP.com, and according to their support, WP.com blogs automatically have a sitemap: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/sitemap-help?replies=8#post-661570
Hope that helps!