Wordpress Sitemap

Uploading Your WordPress Sitemap to Google Search Console


Another good thing to do on your WordPress website is to sign up to Google Search Console and upload a sitemap of your blog or niche site. What ways are there to do this?

There are many tutorials online on different methods to do this, but in keeping with this site we wanted to use the most simple, no nonsense method we could find, with no need to mess around with the coding of your site. We will run through the process of signing up to Search Console and using a free plugin to easily upload your sitemap.

Uploading your sitemap to Google Search Console is useful simply because it tells Google what the structure of your site is; where the pages and posts and the hierarchy of how they are laid out. This can help with getting pages indexed a little bit faster, though Google will find your posts and pages eventually anyway.

Much like the Google Analytics tool, Google Search Console is also an excellent resource to test for errors on your site and identify any other problems. It can also provide some useful stats on the amount and type of traffic for those interested in that type of stuff. Let’s look at how to get set up on Google Search Console (also formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools).

Add Your Website To Google Search Console


If you haven’t done so already, you need to sign up for Google Search console. This is a fantastic free tool that Google offers to website owners that allows them to track many different aspects of how their site is doing and also to submit information to Google about the structure of their site so they can index it better.

The video above covers the process. You need to have a Google account and be logged into it. Head over the Google Search Console (it is sometimes also referred to as Google Webmaster) and follow the steps below.

  • A grey screen should load with two boxes. Use the URL Prefix box on the right.
  • Enter your website URL in the box, including the https prefix eg. https://mynewnichesite.com and click Continue.
  • If you have already signed up to Google Analytics, you site should auto verify and you can skip to the next section. If not, then you are taken through a series of steps to verify your ownership of site, detailed below.
  • OPTIONAL – It is also a good idea to add all different URL perfix versions of your site eg. http://yoursite.com, https://yoursite.com, http://www.yoursite.com and https://www.yoursite.com to track all the different ways people can access your site. You can also select your preferred domain; many users set this as the https://sitename.com version.
  • You need to verify ownership of the website you just entered. Google allows you a number of different ways to do this. Click on the Alternate Methods tab and select the HTML Tag option at the top. This is the easiest method to do it with a simple free plugin. A code will generate; keep the tab open.
  • Login to your WordPress site on a new tab, go to Plugins…Add New and download and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin.
  • Once activated go to Settings……Insert Headers and Footers and copy the HTML code Google gave you over into the Header box of your home page and click Save.
  • If you like you can also paste the code into the Google box of the Webmaster Tools tab of the Yoast SEO plugin if you are using it. See more on Yoast in the section below.
  • Head back over to the Google tab and click Verify. You should get a confirmation that the site is now verified in Search Console and data will start to appear in a few days.

Creating and Adding Your Sitemap to Google Search Console


Once you are verified on Google Search Console you can submit your sitemap so Google can better see the structure of your site and index any pages it still needs to. The easy way to do this is using the free Yoast SEO plugin. It often comes already installed with WordPress; if not you can search for and download and activate it from the Plugins page or the link just above.

Here are the steps for submitting the sitemap with the Yoast plugin. It is a step by step guide for the old version of Google Search Console. You can switch to this version within the settings of Search Console in the bottom left corner

  • Once Yoast is installed and activated, an SEO option will appear in the left hand side of WordPress. Click on General and then on the Features tab.
  • Make sure the XML Sitemaps option is set to On. Click on the XML Sitemap button and then on See the XML Sitemap and will take you to the sitemap page. Yoast has already generated it for you. You now just need to upoad it into Google Search Console.
  • Log into Google Search Console, select your preferred domain, then select the Crawl menu on the left and click on Sitemaps (or just go straight to Sitemaps on the left hand side if you are using the new version of Search Console with the grey screen.
  • Click on the Add/Test Sitemap button.
  • Copy over the URL of your sitemap in Yoast. You just need the bolded suffix end bit, after the domain name and the slash. eg. https://mynichesite.com/sitemap_index.xml
  • Paste this end bit over into the box on Google Search Console. The rest of the URL should already be there if you selected the right domain.
  • Click Test. Search Console will run a test on the sitemap. If it reports it as working then you can submit it.
  • Click on Add/Test Sitemap again, paste the bolded end bit back in again and click Submit this time.
  • The sitemap will show as Pending. Click on the sitemap link that appears. If it has found it, all the pages on the sitemap should appear as URL links in a list.
  • Click on Fetch As Google on the left hand menu, then click on Fetch and Render.
  • Click on the Request Indexing box when it appears. Select the Crawl this URL and its direct links option and click Go.
  • Google will then fetch a version of your site and display it. If it loads correctly with no errors, your site is submitted and you are good to go!
  • These steps are for the Old Search Console, which is slowly being phased out and replaced with the new Search Console interface, which is much more streamlined and simple. In the new version, you simply enter your sitemap URL suffix as above and submit. Google instantly indexes the sitemap, without any of the testing or rendering. It is a simpler, more streamlined process.

Google now knows all the pages and posts that currently exist on your site, which can help some of your content get indexed a little more quickly. Click here for the Google Search Console page and click here for the Yoast SEO plugin page.