Submitting a Sitemap to The Google Search Console
July 27. 2020
A surprising number of people are unaware of why submitting a sitemap to the Google search console is useful. And, among those that are aware, there is a decent percentage that is not sure how to tackle creating and submitting a sitemap. So, to help mitigate this, we are going to explore why it is necessary to submit a sitemap to Google. Then, we are going to explain the necessary steps to do so reliably.
Why should you bother with submitting a sitemap to the Google search console
While submitting a sitemap to the Google search console is relatively straightforward, it is still something that you need to tackle with care. And, seeing that running a website is already a hassle, you might be wondering whether submitting a sitemap is worth the effort. Well, to put it in short, it is. Not having one will not only hurt your online presence but is actually one of the worst Yoast SEO mistakes you can make.
It doesn’t take much experience with website management to know that having a good website is not enough for decent online traffic. There are numerous factors that you need to take into consideration, some of which take months to tackle properly. And one such factor is SEO management.
Along the way, you’d be smart to use every bit of help to boost your SEO ratings and make your website more known. Well, one such way is to submit your sitemap to Google search console. Having a decent sitemap is becoming more and important in Google’s SEO algorithm. This is because Google prioritizes websites with proper sitemaps as there is a higher chance that they are useful and genuine.
How to submit a sitemap to Google
The actual process of building and submitting a sitemap to the Google search console is pretty straightforward. The difficulty in it only lies in optimizing your sitemap. By doing so you will ensure that it represents your website in the best possible light.
1: Organize your pages
The first thing to do is to decide what pages you want Google to crawl through. While it may seem like a great idea to submit all the pages on your website, you should refrain from doing so. Your goal is to present your website as tightly nit and informative as possible. Therefore, you really ought to avoid adding duplicate webpages and dead blog posts to your sitemap. Also, keep in mind that duplicate pages can easily happen if you have different versions of your webpages for mobile. So try to keep them in mind when setting up your sitemap. This will help Google crawlers prioritize specific pages on your website as they will consider them canonical. Furthermore, consider creating a sitemap index if you have multiple sitemaps. If you do not tackle this, you can easily cause unwanted behavior from Google SEO.
2: Choose the sitemap format
The second thing to do is to decide what kind of a sitemap format you would like to use. The most common formats are:
- RSS and Atom 1.0
- Google Sites
In most cases, you should opt for XML as it is the most widely used. If you have media on your websites such as music or video, you may have to add additional syntax to your sitemap in order for Google to properly process it. All formats will limit your sitemap to 50mb (uncompressed). If you have a larger file, or more then 50,000 URLs, you will have to create additional sitemaps.
3: Submit the robots.txt file
The third, and final, thing to do is to make your sitemap available to Google. To do this, you simply need to add it to your robots.txt file. The alternative is to manually submit to Google’s search engine.
Using Yoast SEO plugin
If this sounds too complicated and you want an easy solution for submitting a sitemap to the Google search console, you can opt for using the Yoast SEO plugin. It will automatically create a sitemap index and update it as need be. To create a sitemap with Yoast SEO you need to:
- Open and log into your WordPress website.
- Scroll down and click on the “SEO button”.
- In available options click on “General”.
- Open the “Features”.
- Click on the “XML Sitemaps” switch in order to switch it “On”.
- Click on “Save changes”.
By doing this you’ve told Yoast SEO to automatically create sitemaps of your website. This, as you might notice, gives you fewer options for customizability, which is why we advise you to carefully research sitemaps before you submit yours to Google. Even though the Yoast SEO plugin is useful, you should only use it to update a well-optimized sitemap. If you wish to submit the sitemap that you created through Yoast SEO, here is what to do:
- Head on to Google Search Console and sign in.
- Go to the sidebar in the top left corner and find your website.
- Head on to the “Index” section and click on “Sitemaps”.
- Remove any outdated or obsolete sitemaps that you might have.
- In the “Add a new sitemap” field enter “sitemap_index.xml” to complete the URL.
- Click “Submit”.
When to submit
The general rule of thumb is that the sooner you are able to submit your sitemaps, the better. Ideally, you will regularly update your sitemaps. This will ensure that your website is closely connected to Google and its SEO. Once old sitemaps become obsolete, we suggest that you delete them as they can cause issues with Google crawlers. All in all, consider sitemaps as an integral line to Google crawlers. After all, it is in your best interest to make the Google SEO algorithm as happy as possible with your website as possible.