WordPress Wednesday – Boost Your Site’s Search Rankings With an XML Sitemap

One of the things you’ll learn quickly when you decide to build a website or blog, is that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and getting found online is critical to the success of your website. We all want to be on the first page of Google, but getting there can be a laborious, tedious & time consuming process (not to mention expensive), especially if you’re not sure how to go about it.

One of the ways (and there are many) to begin is by creating an XML Sitemap of your site and then submitting that to the major search engines. An XML Sitemap is essentially a coded page, that when submitted, instructs the search engines to go and crawl your site, and tells them which pages are available to be crawled. This will help speed up the process of getting your site ranked in the search engines.

To begin, in your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New, and search for Google XML Sitemap.

Install and activate the plugin as usual, and from your dashboard, navigate to Settings > XML Sitemap.

There are many settings here, but I’ve left most of them at the default, with a couple of exceptions. You will need to read through the settings to see how they may apply to your site.

I changed the Post Priority setting from Comment Count to the 1st option, Do not use the automatic priority calculation.

I also checked the box “Include categories”, since many of my categories are menu items, such as “WordPress Wednesday”.

Lastly, I changed the frequency for Posts to “daily”, as opposed to the default, which was monthly. This setting tells the search engines how often to crawl your site, and since they don’t crawl as often as specified, I like to choose a setting that is more frequently than I actually post. I typically post once or twice per week, so I would like my site to be crawled at least weekly.

Be sure to click “Update Options” at the bottom of the page to save any changes.

Your site is now sure to be crawled by the major search engines, and every time you update it, those search engines are notified of the changes and your content will be revisited and re-indexed, making it easier for users to find you in organic search results.

For more information about SEO and how to get your site ranked higher, please check out all my posts on Search Engine Optimization.

Note: This option is now available directly in the All in One SEO Pack plugin.

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