YOAST WORDPRESS SEO SITEMAP

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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XML sitemaps are available for free in Yoast SEO. But, if you are serious about your site Yoast SEO Premium can help you make your job a lot easier .

Instead of merely letting search engines crawl every page on your site, a sitemap can help to prioritize your more important pages — saving your crawl budget. By default, Yoast SEO excludes several posts, and content types from the XML sitemap as these pages have no place in a sitemap. Also, you can determine what you do and don’t want to add to your sitemap.

But even though internal linking is important, not many people do it well. On some sites, there’s content that never gets any links. You should fix this, but in these cases, an XML sitemap in WordPress can serve as an alternate way for search engines to find your content.

Make your content available for crawlers.

According to Google: “Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. A sitemap tells Google which pages and files you think are important in your site, and also provides valuable information about these files: for example, for pages, when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page.”

It’s not just the simple list of URLs that’s important to Google. The additional metadata is essential as well. Search engines can read when your content was last updated if there was any new content added and how all this content ties together. This last part is especially important if the content on your site is not properly linked together.

Internal linking is vital for your users as well as search engines. Search engines use links on your pages to discover new content and to determine which pages should get more weight.

Yoast SEO has a set of sensible defaults for what goes into the sitemap — excluding many pages that shouldn’t end up in sitemap in the first place. If you need to have more control, you can determine what appears as you see fit. For instance, if you would like to exclude a specific content type from appearing in the XML sitemap, you simply have to flick a switch in the settings. Go to Search Appearance, find your content type, and set the Show X in search results switch to No.

While a single sitemap can hold up to 50,000 URLs, Yoast SEO chooses to break these up into smaller sitemaps. Our sitemaps hold up to 1,000 URLs and we’ll make sure to connect them. That makes our XML sitemaps in WordPress speedy and efficient.

Once you’ve installed Yoast SEO and your XML sitemap is activated, you should add your sitemap to Google Search Console and other webmaster tools. Simply add your website to Search Console first and after doing that, you can add your sitemap. You’ll notice when Google has come around to check the sitemap and if it found any issues with it.

Extra features.

Keep in mind, XML sitemaps do not need to be indexed by search engines in order to be read or parsed by them. That’s why Yoast automatically adds HTTP headers to these files, saving you from crawl budget issues and index bloat!

Search engines discover new pages and updated content by following links. However, an even more efficient way for them to find content is by following a map. An XML sitemap generated by Yoast SEO is a treasure map for search engines. It gives them directions to all of your content and tells them when your pages were last updated. With Yoast SEO you automatically get robust XML sitemaps for all of your content types .

Bing says: “Sitemaps are an excellent way to tell Bing about URLs on your site that would be otherwise hard to discover by our web crawler.”

The XML sitemap is a standardized way of offering these overviews to search engines. Because this is standardized, search engines know exactly where to find them and what to expect in these files. Therefore, this file helps search engines discover your content.

Sitemaps give important information.

Ok, so XML sitemaps are important. But, why do you need a Yoast XML sitemap in WordPress? After all, since the release of WordPress 5.5, all WordPress installations automatically get an XML sitemap as well. Well, not all XML sitemaps are built the same. We have been working on the Yoast XML sitemap for years. Over time, it has become more and more sophisticated. In comparison, the default WordPress XML sitemap is quite basic. Read the FAQ: XML sitemaps in WordPress 5.5 and Yoast SEO to learn more!

You can use Yoast SEO to easily set what your want to appear in the XML sitemap.

An XML sitemap is technically little more than a file with a list of URLs on your site. If you have many posts and pages in WordPress, the list will be very long, and if you don’t have many, the list will be short. More sophisticated sitemaps, like the ones we produce, use categories and multiple pages to break things up into smaller, more digestible pieces.

Watch the video and learn all about how you can get the best out of the Yoast XML sitemaps in WordPress.

You can still allow search engines to follow the links on that page — even if it’s hidden — by leaving “Should search engines follow links on this Page?” set to “Yes.”

One of the many great things about the Yoast SEO plugin is that it automatically generates an XML sitemap for your website . This file acts as a resume for your website. It tells the search engines how to crawl and index the pages of your website.

An XML sitemap generated by Yoast SEO looks like this:

Let’s locate your XML sitemap. Yoast plugin users will find it at www.mydomain.com/sitemap_index.xml .

2. Customize the Yoast settings relating to content types. In the left-hand menu of your WordPress website, hover over the Yoast SEO plugin, then click on Search Appearance. Click through the tabs at the top to get an idea of how Yoast organizes the controls for your various kinds of content.

How to Create a Yoast Sitemap.

3. Continue with this exercise for the Taxonomies and Archives tabs in the Search Appearance portion of the Yoast SEO plugin.

Notice the dropdowns on the content type, taxonomies, and archives tabs. Each dropdown opens a control panel to help you optimize the way a particular kind of content will appear in the search results.

You’ll want to exclude any URLs that point to pages with:

Our goal is to evaluate the pages included in each individual sitemap. Go through each sitemap, URL by URL, asking yourself if each piece of content will benefit users.

Yoast’s automatically-generated sitemap needs customization. In this video and post, learn how to customize your WordPress XML sitemap using Yoast.

Yoast SEO automatically creates a sitemap for your website. It’s your job to customize it so that it includes a URL for each page you want to have a chance of appearing in the search results.

In the page editor, scroll down to the Yoast SEO metabox. Click on the “Advanced Settings” gear icon and set “Allow search engines to show this Page in search results?” to “No.”

An XML sitemap is a list of pages on your website you want search engines to crawl and index. Sitemaps provide valuable information such as how many images are included on each page, when each page was last updated, and each page’s relative importance. In short, the XML sitemap says, “Search engine crawlers, please follow this path.”

When you look closely at a Yoast-generated sitemap, you’ll see that it’s actually an index of additional sitemaps based on content type. Each content type sitemap organizes all URLs associated with that particular type of content. Starting at the top of the sitemap index above, you’ll see it includes a sitemap each for posts, pages, categories, post_tags, and authors.

As you can tell by the look and feel, an XML sitemap isn’t user-oriented; it’s meant to communicate with the search engines.

What is an XML Sitemap?

Go through each content type listed and ask yourself if you want that type of content to appear in the search results. For most content types (like pages and posts), your answer should be Yes, unless those pages contain thin or duplicate content.

4. Customize individual sitemaps. Open your XML sitemap index. Click on the individual sitemaps so that each opens in a new tab.

The default setting is usually Yes — for good reason. You generally want search engines to see all of your content unless you have a good reason for them not to.

If you find pages such as /hello-world or /testing-123 that signal they may be of low value to the search engines, open each in a new tab for evaluation at the page level. If they don’t contain content that could be valuable to users, you want to exclude those pages from your sitemap.

You can click on any one of the individual sitemaps to see all the pages/URLs on the site associated with that particular type of content.

By leaving a particular content type set to Yes, Yoast will make sure to include that individual sitemap in your XML sitemap index.

Leave this set to Yes unless there’s a reason you don’t want crawlers following the links that live on that page.

What to Include/Exclude in Your Sitemap.

It’s likely that you do want the search engines to show your Categories and Tags. We will optimize these taxonomies so they’re even more valuable to the search engines in an upcoming monthly task.

Finally, click “Update” in the top right corner of the page to save these settings. Repeat this process for each page you wish to exclude from each individual sitemap.

The steps outlined below will show you how to customize it for your unique website. We’ll start by deciding which sitemaps you want your XML sitemap index to include. Then, we’ll look at individual content within each sitemap.

To exclude individual URLs from your XML sitemap, click on “Edit Page” at the top of each page or post you want to exclude.

If you set a content type sitemap to No, Yoast will remove that entire sitemap — along with all associated URLs — from your sitemap index. Yoast will also apply noindex robots meta directives to each piece of content in that sitemap, further ensuring robots won’t find and index them. Make sure you’re positive you don’t want search engines seeing any of that content before setting it to No.

1. Log in to your WordPress website in one browser tab, and have your XML sitemap open in another tab.

Each dropdown also includes a toggle that allows us to add or remove a particular kind of content from the XML sitemap. Yoast asks a simple question: “Show (individual sitemap) in search results?”

Nice work! You’ve customized your XML sitemap! Your final step is to submit this customized sitemap to Google via the Google Search Console.

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