One of the first search engine optimization tactics you want to implement is to create a sitemap and then submit it to Google. Let's take a look at why you want to do that and how to submit it correctly.
Why Sitemaps Matter
A sitemap is a way to tell Google about the pages on your site that it might not otherwise be able to discover on its own. Google uses robots, or web crawlers, to scan the content of sites to index the information for use in its search results. Without a submitted sitemap, Google may only find a portion of your site, depending on your internal linking structure, and it may not find things for some time. Sitemaps that have been submitted to Google can make this process easier and can help Google crawl your site more effectively.
If your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by a Google's robots during the crawl process, a sitemap will show the crawlers where to go to easily index new content, and to get recently updated content indexed faster.
How to Submit a Sitemap to Google
The first step in submitting a sitemap will be to generate one if you haven't already. Content management systems like Drupal, Hubspot, and Wordpress automatically create these, or offer modules or plugins to do it quickly and easily. You can check to see if you have one by typing in your URL followed by /sitemap.xml. NOTE: Some Wordpress plugins create multiple sitemaps, so try typing /wp-sitemap.xml at the end of your domain name to see the default sitemaps.
In the left navigation, look under Index and click Sitemaps.
Enter the URL (if it pre-loads your URL, you'll just enter the part after the slash, i.e., sitemap.xml).
Click submit and wait for confirmation that your sitemap was successfully submitted.
It will take some time before Google shows you what it has crawled and indexed from your sitemap, so check back periodically to see if that data is available.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is an essential (and easy!) step in SEO and after doing so, you should see positive results. Why wait for Google to crawl your site when you can easily submit the information yourself?
Emery is the content strategist at Tribute Media. She has an MA in rhetoric and composition from Boise State University, and she is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at Antioch University. She lives in southern California with a bunch of creatures and many plants.
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