What Is a Sitemap? (and How To Submit One to Search Console)

By | October 12, 2019

– And then finally you wanna
go to Google Search Console to submit your Sitemap and
any kind of related Sitemaps and then instantly Google
will rank all of your pages for 10 keywords at number one. (rewinding sound-effect) In this video we’re gonna
look at what a Sitemap is and how you submit one
to Google Search Console. (dramatic music) Howdy partners, welcome to this video which is all about Sitemaps. Now I know what you’re thinking, Sitemaps are really boring. That is such a boring
topic for a video Tim, even Exposure Ninja can’t
make this entertaining. I have your back, don’t worry, I know they’re a boring topic. I’ve actually been
dreading making this video because Sitemaps are so boring. So boring. But we’re gonna find a way
to make it entertaining. So I thought in order to make this video about Sitemaps fun, we’d get a bit of a party vibe in here. Now when I went to the
store unfortunately, the only party accessories they had, were hen party accessories. But, fear not, what better
embodiment of the carefree joy of a hen party is there than
talking about XML Sitemaps? As this topic gets more and more boring we’re gonna add more accessories to make it more and more fun. That way, you’ll be fully
entertained throughout. And by the end, you’ll just
be fizzing with delight. Okay, so first up, what is a Sitemap? A Sitemap is basically
a list of pages, media, or files on your website. So most websites these days
have a Sitemap for pages, they have a Sitemap for posts, and they might have a
Sitemap for images as well. And basically, they’re there
to make it really easy to find all of the different pages
of a website in one place. The most common formats
of Sitemap are XML, which stands for
Extensible Markup Language, (there you go, there’s the Friday night Dog and Duck pub quiz,
nailed) or an HTML Sitemap. XML Sitemaps are really
there for search engines, so helping things like Google-bot find all of the pages on your site, whereas HTML Sitemaps are
like an actual built page on your site which lists all of the pages in their hierarchy. Really, HTML Sitemaps don’t
have that much use these days because most modern websites
are pretty easy to navigate. But back in the olden
days of the internet, which was like 2014 or something, and before we had things
like drop-down menus and it was really easy to
navigate your way around a site, sometimes going to the HTML Sitemap was actually the fastest way to find for pages that you need. So most websites these
days, perfectly fine, just to have XML Sitemaps, which are kind of hidden
behind the scenes, and are just there for search engines. So what is an XML Sitemap? Well an XML Sitemap is
basically a list of pages on the website in XML language. Well an XML Sitemap basically looks like a plain text list of all
of the URLs on a website with some additional information. For example, most WordPress
websites these days, if you use the Yoast SEO plugin, your XML Sitemap will look like this. So this is the main Sitemap index and lists all of the XML
Sitemaps on the site. So for example, if we just
click on the page Sitemap, what we’ll see is the
list of all of the pages on the Exposure Ninja website. Now they’ve also got some
additional info here. We’ve got the number of images
on each page to be indexed and we’ve also got something
called the Last Mod tag. So the Last Mod tag refers to when this page was last updated. And this is a really easy
way for Google’s Google-bot to see, “Oh, okay, right, we
might need to recall this page “because it’s been updated
since we last indexed it.” Your Sitemap might also
have a Change Frequency tag which basically says
how frequently the page is gonna be changed, and also a Priority tag, and these Priority tags are
a number from one to five, and basically signify the
importance of that page. Your Sitemap might also
have Change Frequency tags which refer to how often this
page is gonna be changed, so Google-bot knows when to come back and look at it again. And also a Priority tag
which goes from zero to one and signifies the relative importance of each page on your site. So the big question is,
do you need a Sitemap? Now being completely honest with you, Sitemaps are one of those SEO things that for the amount of
work it takes to put in, you may as well do it. Most smaller sites don’t
really need a Sitemap because Google’s gonna know
about the pages on your site. But if you have a much larger
site or an E-commerce site, then using a Sitemap can be a nice way to make sure Google is fully aware of all of the pages,
products and categories that you have on your site. One of the main benefits of a Sitemap is that when you change your site, or you add a new pages, because Google’s aware of your Sitemap, it’s more likely to see
those pages more quickly and therefore they can get
indexed and ranking quicker. Sitemaps really aren’t the golden bullet that’s gonna transform your
ranking overnight though, so sorry to break it to you. So how do you create a Sitemap? Well a lot of CMSs or Content
Management Systems these days actually come with Sitemaps built-in. So if you’re using a
Content Management System it might actually build a
Sitemap automatically for you. Now for WordPress, which is the world’s most
popular Content Management System and the one that we
build all of the websites at Exposure Ninja with, most people use a plugin like
Yeost to create the Sitemaps. We like Yeost because
it allows us to separate out the Sitemaps for things
like pages, posts and images and all that type of stuff. Now if you’re a super internet ninja and you’ve built your
website by hand yourself, then you might have to
create your own Sitemap. So I’m gonna show you how to do that in just a couple of momentos. You can use something
like XML-Sitemaps.com which is a tool that
basically crawls your website up to 500 URLs and
builds you an XML Sitemap or you can use everyone’s
favourite little froggy, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool. Let’s have a look at that. So if you wanna submit your Sitemap to Google Search Console,
first option you wanna go to search.google.com and register
if you haven’t already. Once you’re in the search console, you’re gonna head on the left
hand side down to Sitemaps and you’re gonna give that a big, fat, bride-to-be clickety-click. And once you’ve given that
a big fat clickety-click, you’re gonna get this,
which is Add a new Sitemap. So here you just wanna
put in your Sitemap’s URL. So Exposure Ninja uses the Yeost plugin so the Sitemap’s URL will
be sitemap_index.xml. And then if you click on Submit, now obviously we’ve already
submitted this Sitemap, so that’s fine, but you’ll get a little thing that says it’s been submitted successfully. And then eventually you’ll
have the discovered URLs which are all the URLs
that have been discovered as a result of that process. Now on the sitemap_index.xml
you’ll probably see zero discovered URLs
but they’ll be indexed underneath Pages or Posts because that’s actually the kind of, the child Sitemap, if you like. That’s where the pages
are actually listed. Let’s say that you need to
build your own XML Sitemap, how on earth are you gonna do this? Well you can use everyone’s favourite, Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool. So what you wanna do is stick your website in the top of the tool. This is a free tool, I’m
on the free plan here which limits you to 500 URLs. But you can pay if you
want to use even more URLs. So you put your website in here and then you’re gonna get a list of all of your different pages up here. So what you probably wanna
do is remove some stuff here that’s not quite relevant. So what we’re gonna do is just
gonna click on some of these so you can do your little
command if you’re on Mac, and then you can just
right-click and click Remove. And that’s gonna remove them from there. Once you’ve been through
and tidied up this to only include the pages
that you want to include in your Sitemap, you’re then gonna head
up to this Sitemap’s menu up the top here, click on XML Sitemap, and then you’re gonna click Next, and that’s gonna then give you– You can save it and then
you’ve got your XML Sitemap which you can upload to your website. How you actually get that
installed on your website is gonna vary on the
Content Management System that you’re using, so if
you need some dev help, then contact Exposure Ninja
and we can sort you out. But like I say, for most websites, you’re gonna be just using the WordPress or the Shopify, or whatever,
Sitemap that you have as part of your Content Management System or built-in through a plugin. So that whole section
was slightly pointless. But hey, at least you got to see the ring. Look at the rock on that. So let’s wrap up this charade
with a bit of a recap. A Sitemap is file that
you can use to organise your website’s pages. Most Sitemaps these days are XML Sitemaps and they’re basically written in their robot-readable language which allows Google-bot to
find the pages on your site and understand when
they were last updated. An HTML Sitemap is a
Sitemap designed for people. And most websites these
days don’t really need them because they’re nice and easy to navigate. But back in the olden days of the internet when I was like, five or something, you would use them to
find the pages on a site if the navigation was a bit of a mess. A lot of the time,
these days, your Sitemap will be automatically
created by your website or it’s platform, or if you’re
on something like WordPress or Magento or Shopify, then there’ll be a plugin or
extension that you can use to build out your Sitemap automatically. And if you wanna make your own Sitemap, ’cause you’re crazy, then you can go to Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool and you can follow the
steps in the rewind. And then finally you wanna
go to Google Search Console to submit your Sitemap and
any kind of related Sitemaps, and then instantly Google
will rank all of your pages for 10 keywords at number one. (laughs) It won’t, but at least then you’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that your Sitemap has been handled. So I hope you found this video useful and that my public
humiliation was worth it for your entertainment. And don’t forget to like and subscribe and you can click the little bell icon to get notified when we make more videos. We try to release two videos per week, all about digital marketing. And if you want even more Exposure Ninja then you can head over to
the Exposure Ninja podcast using any podcast player, if you just search for Exposure Ninja Digital Marketing podcast, you’ll find us, we tend to release one episode per week, interviewing some of the
brightest digital marketing minds on the planet, including our very own
ninjas at Exposure Ninja. If you want some help improving
your website’s ranking, visibility and the leads and sales that it’s generating for you, then you can head over to
the Exposure Ninja website and request a free marketing review. These reviews are awesome. What we’ll do is take a
look behind the scenes of your site. We’ll have a look at how
you’re generating your traffic, and also what your competitors are doing to generate leads and sales. We’ll record everything
in a 15 minute video which we’ll send over to you by email, showing you how to improve
the visibility of your site and generate more leads and sales. It’s totally free. There’s no obligation to use our services but I have to warn you, these reviews are very
effective sales tools so you might end up wanting
to become a client of ours once you’ve seen the review, although there is absolutely
no obligation to do so. Until the next video, see you soon.

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