SEO

How to Submit Your Blog Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

Submitting your blog sitemap to Google Webmasters Tools is a crucial part of any SEO strategy, but unfortunately many new Webmasters are still ignoring how it works and why it matters. As many learn quickly, Google Webmasters Tools is essentially a tool that lets you control your website from the viewpoint of search engines. Any information you can give this tool about your website can help you when it comes time to rank, and a sitemap is one big way to offer a lot of information fast.

A Quick Recap: How a Sitemap Works

A sitemap is an xml file that contains all of the URLs associated with your blog. You can have several different sitemaps that hold different information, with a blog being one option. The file will help the Google bots find all of these URLs so that it can crawl and then index them correctly. If your website is a traditional blog, you can actually use a plugin that will keep updating your sitemap file as you publish you news posts so you don’t have to keep resubmitting a new sitemap (more on this later).

How to Generate a Sitemap for Your Website

There are several different ways to generate a sitemap for your blog that generally depends upon the platform you’re using. If you’re like the majority and you’re using WordPress, you can easily generate a sitemap using the Google XML Sitemap generator plugin. Install the plugin like you would any plugin and then activate and it will start automatically updating your sitemap as you publish. Below is an example from Practical Ecommerce of what a sitemap link looks like:

sitemap-example

Submitting Your Sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

Below is a step-by-step guide to submitting your sitemap:

  1. Visit your Webmaster Tool dashboard and choose Site Configuration and then Sitemaps on the left hand sidebar.
  2. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button. This page will also show you which sitemaps Google sees and who uploaded each (you or your teammates).
  3. Enter /system/feeds/sitemap into the text box that appears.
  4. Click Submit Sitemap.

If you are running a site with a lot of images or videos, you should create a separate image sitemap or video sitemap, which you can learn more about here. It’s also important to remember that it might take a little bit of time for the index status to register, but once it does you will be able to see how many URLs are submitted via a sitemap and how many pages are indexed. Below is an example from Shout Me Loud of what the page will look like:

sitemap-content

Once you’ve successfully submitted your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools, don’t forget to do the same thing for Bing. Visit this link for a full guide on Bing best practices for submitting a sitemap. Let us know how your experience goes and what you found difficult in the comment section below.

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