Sitemaps tell a search engine about all the pages that are present in your website. It is a way of telling search engines like Google about all the content that you want to be crawled. Having an XML sitemap for your website or WordPress blog is quite essential for SEO purposes. It guarantees better indexing of your pages in search engines.
If you are wondering “How to generate an XML sitemap in WordPress?” then the answer is simple. We do it with a plugin. There are many sitemap generating plugins, but the best and the most popular one seems to be a plugin named Google XML Sitemap.
After you install this plugin and enable it, you can access it from your WordPress Admin > Settings > XML-Sitemap. This plugin automatically generates a bunch of sitemaps for your blog. Your WordPress blog will have multiple dynamic sub-sitemaps. That means your main sitemap will be available at http://www.yourblog.com/sitemap.xml. This sitemap will link to other sub-sitemaps which are separately generated for each and every month. This prevents from having a single sitemap with a large file size.
Sub-sitemap URLs will be something like http://www.yourblog.com/sitemap-pt-post-2014-05.xml. You do not have to worry about submitting sub sitemap links to search engine webmaster tools. Only submitting your main sitemap.xml is enough for search engines to discover all your linked sitemaps.
Some notable features and options that you get with Google XML Sitemap plugin for WordPress:
- Automatically and dynamically generated sitemaps which includes all the links that you can specify.
- Ability to notify major search engines such as Google and Bing of site updates instantly. This ensures quicker crawling of new content.
- Feature to add additional URLs present in your site but are outside of your WordPress contents.
- Automatic posts priority calculation using comments as an indicator.
- Manual priority settings for different type of content. You can set different priorities for posts, homepage, static pages, categories, archives, tags, author pages etc.
- Option to specify change frequency differently for different pages such as homepage, posts, static pages, categories, archives, tag pages and author pages.
- Exclude single posts, pages or posts from entire categories.
Sample Thumbnail of Sitemap
To view a real WordPress sitemap generated with this plugin, visit http://www.vlchelp.com/sitemap.xml