Hey, what’s up everybody?
I know a lot of you are just getting started online and when you’re a beginner it can be quite overwhelming having to navigate through the tricky waters of starting your blog and getting your blog posts visible on Google.
One of the best ways to make sure that your content is indexed online and visible by people using search engines, most specifically Google, is to have your blog sitemap submitted and working in Google own Search Console tool.
I’ve spoken about using Google Search Console before and it’s definitely an online tool that I would recommend signing up for and learning how to use during your blogging process.
Today, I want to talk about how to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console so that you can hopefully get your blog posts indexed and start showing up in the results.
It’s a very easy and straightforward process and once you do it a few times you’ll have no problem doing it in the future whenever you set up any new blogs or websites.
I’m going to cover all of the steps and you just need to follow along to make sure that everything is working right for you.
What is a Sitemap?
If you haven’t heard of it before, a website sitemap is basically a file that stores all of the URLs to your blog posts, images, and different pages on your website.
It’s typically found in an XML format and it really makes it easier for search engine crawlers to discover all of the different content that your blog holds.
It acts as an index of your blog so that search engines are able to see everything that you have available for their users to access.
After having created a sitemap, which is automatically done for you if you’re using the Jetpack for WordPress plug-in or a specific SEO plugin such as Yoast, you can submit it to different search engines so that they are aware of all of the content you have on your website.
After submitting, the search engine crawlers will check out the sitemap that you posted and determine whether or not your content should be ranked in the search engine results.
There is plenty of information online that goes more in-depth into website sitemaps and I recommend checking out a few articles to get a better idea of how they work and why you should be using them.
For those of you that don’t feel like using a plug-in to generate your sitemap file then you could alternatively use an online sitemap generator for submitting.
The benefit of using plugins is that they automatically update your site map after you publish new content so you don’t have to worry about generating a new one and having to resubmit it all the time.
Now that you have a better idea of the basics of what a sitemap is and why you should be using one, let’s take a look at how you can generate one and then upload it to Google Search Console.
How to Generate a Sitemap for your WordPress Blog or Website
Generating a sitemap is very straightforward and an integral part in starting your blog and getting it noticed online.
You’re definitely going to want to sign up for Google Search Console as well as Google Analytics to make sure that you can start tracking data from the beginning and make changes as your blog grows.
There are a few different methods that you can use to generate a sitemap and I think that’s the easiest way is to install the Jetpack plugin when you’re setting up your WordPress blog and it will automatically generate one for you.
To find your sitemap you just need to add “sitemap.XML” to the end of your URL and if something shows up then you’re doing it right but if you get an error then you need to try again.
Alternatively you could use the Yoast SEO plugin, which is one of the main plugins that I start a blog with, and it’s also easy to generate one through the settings without much work on your part.
For those that are not using WordPress I really don’t know the methods to get a sitemap but you could definitely use one of the many tools available online, such as the generator I mentioned above, for getting one set up for yourself.
Of course, for most beginners and just about everybody else with a website or blog I would definitely recommend using WordPress.
Now once you’ve generated your sitemap let’s take a look at how you can submit it to Google.
Submit a Sitemap to Google Search Console
Hopefully you have already signed up for the Search Console tool, and if not you’re going to want to do that now.
After you have verified your website with Search Console you can go ahead and log in.
On the Search Console dashboard you’re going to see a menu on the left and underneath the “Crawl” option you’re going to want to click on “Sitemaps”.
This will bring you to the Sitemaps dashboard.
It’s here where you’ll be able to submit your sitemap as well as get an overview of the different ones that you have already submitted.
You’re able to see the amount of web pages and images submitted already and whether or not they’re indexed.
To submit your own, you want to click on the red add/test site map button on the top right of the page.
A little drop down is going to open up and all you need to do is add to the .XML extension for your sitemap to the little text box.
You can choose to test it to see if everything’s working but if you’re confident that it’s already up and running then you can simply just click on submit sitemap.
If you’re using a lot of images on your website but then I would recommend setting up a dedicated image sitemap as well so that people have a better chance of finding your index photos and images through search engines and then consequently visiting your website.
After the short period of time you should be able to see you that your site map was properly submitted underneath the sitemaps content display and here you’ll have a good overview of the web pages and images currently available online.
That’s basically all there is to it and once you’ve finished submitting your sitemap you can actually start to index separate pages and blog posts if you want them to show up in the Google search results faster without having to wait for your website to get crawled again.
Keep in mind that the more you post content on a regular basis the more that Google is going to come and crawl your site.
Eventually you won’t have to worry about submitting everything as your blog posts should get indexed fairly quickly if you’re posting regularly.
If you’re only posting on a weekly or monthly basis then you might have to wait a bit longer for your posts to get indexed and in that case you might want to do it manually.
Let me know how everything went for you down in the comments below and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll try to help you as soon as I can.