What are sitemaps? Quite simply put, a sitemap is a list of pages on your website. It is what it sounds like, a map of pages to your website. It shows the pages that are on your website. It tells search engines about the organization of your site content, making it easier for them to find.
Why do search engines need to find you? That’s because you want to be found by other people, and you will have more traffic to your site if they can. If you have a large website, a new website or a website with a lot of content, then it will be imperative for you to have a sitemap. You could be online for months before getting traffic to your website if you do not have a sitemap.
How do you create the sitemap in WordPress? Yoast SEO plugin works great for this. You install the plugin and then go to the features tab. Change the “Advanced settings pages” to “Enabled” and save the changes. After enabling, the SEO sidebar to the left with have additional options: Select “XML Sitemaps”. “XML sitemap functionality” needs to be set to “enabled” as well. This, my friends, is how you set up a sitemap. In order to see your sitemap, you click “XML Sitemap” link. Wait! You’re not done yet.
Who, When and Where do you need to send your sitemap link to? Whelp, we created our sitemap but we aren’t done, we also need to submit it to Google through Google Search Console.
You will need to create a login for your google, or just Login is you have a Gmail or google account already.
- Next, point your web browser to google.com/webmasters/tools/home
- Type or paste this address in the URL to your homepage next to the box that says “Website”, then click add a property button.
- Click on the button “HTML Tag radio”
- Click on the Meta tag to highlight it and copy it to the clipboard.
- Next, go back to your WordPress dashboard in a new tab or window.
- Click Jetpack and then settings.
- Click the Engagement link from across the top of the page and slide the slider next to the Site Verification to Activate it.
- Click the down arrow and in the Google box, paste in the Meta tag you copied from the Google Search km Console.
- Click the verify button. You may need to wait a while, maybe an hour, if you see the ‘Verification failed” message. You will know you have completed the task when you see Congratulations message. When this happens, click the continue link.
If you see the “Verification failed” when trying the “Meta tag” verification then you can try “HTML file upload” verification method instead, if you’re familiar with FTP. Be sure to repeat the previous steps for different versions of your website. This can be a pain but is essential for your bump up to the top on Google.
Hopefully these steps get you off on the right foot to get more traffic to your website after asking yourself “What are sitemaps?” If you want to increase the visibility of your site to consumers, you can count on your Online Capital Group to help optimize your website for enhanced search engine performance. Give us a call at (904) 600-3600 today.