How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress: A Step-by-Step Guide


Creating a sitemap in WordPress is a fundamental step to enhance your website’s SEO and ensure it is fully indexed by search engines. A sitemap acts as a roadmap for search engines, guiding them through the content of your site. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about creating a sitemap in WordPress, from understanding what a sitemap is to using popular plugins to generate one.

Understanding How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress

What is a Sitemap in WordPress?

A WordPress sitemap is a list of URLs representing all the content on your website. Including a sitemap is crucial for optimizing your content for search engines and enhancing website navigation for visitors.

Think of a sitemap like a menu at a five-star restaurant. When you look at the menu, it gives you a clear understanding of all the dishes available. Similarly, a sitemap provides search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo with a clear overview of what your website offers.

Search engines use web crawlers to browse and index your content on their search engine results pages (SERPs). A sitemap acts as a guide for these crawlers, helping them quickly locate and understand your web pages.

By using a sitemap, web crawlers can efficiently browse every piece of information on your site. This ensures that search engines can display your content in their search results whenever users enter relevant keywords.

Types of Sitemaps

There are two primary types of sitemaps:

  1. XML Sitemaps: XML sitemaps are designed for search engines, not your website visitors. They contain URLs and extensive information about your web pages. Web crawlers use this data to assess the authority of your content. Googlebot and other bots can see when a webpage is updated. Search engines rely on the XML sitemap to discover and index your website content efficiently.
  2. HTML Sitemaps: An HTML sitemap is primarily designed for your website visitors. It helps them navigate your site easily by providing strategically placed buttons and links. Typically, an HTML sitemap includes links to all your web pages, such as Contact Us, Shop, About Us, Blog, and more, often located in the footer. In addition to improving user experience, HTML sitemaps also benefit search engine optimization. Search engines recognize HTML sitemaps as a best practice, which can enhance your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).


Benefits of Sitemaps for Websites

Sitemaps significantly enhance website visibility in search engine results and improve user experience. By providing a structured overview of your site’s content, sitemaps help search engines like Google discover and index all your pages, including those that might be missed otherwise. This is especially useful for large, complex websites, new sites with few external links, or sites with rich media content.

Sitemaps improve users’ navigation, making it easier to find information quickly. This is particularly important for accessibility, helping users understand the site’s structure more intuitively. Additionally, sitemaps can include metadata, such as the last update and change frequency of each page, guiding search engines and users to the most relevant and current content. Overall, sitemaps boost search engine visibility and enhance user experience by making content easier to find and navigate.

Related Article:

How to Become An SEO Specialist: The Ultimate Guide

Best Local SEO Guide of 2024

Mastering Global SEO: Expanding Your Online Reach Worldwide (2024)

What is Organic SEO: Drive Traffic and Increase Visibility

Why Your WordPress Site Needs a Sitemap

Enhancing Search Engine Optimization

Enhancing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves various strategies, and sitemaps are a crucial part of this process. Sitemaps ensure that search engines can find and index all your important pages, which improves your site’s ranking. They provide a structured list of URLs, helping search engines understand the organization of your content.

This is especially useful for large or new websites. Additionally, sitemaps can include metadata about each URL, such as the last update, change frequency, and importance. This information helps search engines prioritize and index your content more effectively, boosting your site’s visibility and SEO performance.

Improving Website Navigation

HTML sitemaps can help users navigate your site, making it easier to find the information they need.

Improving website navigation is crucial for enhancing user experience. One effective way to achieve this is by implementing HTML sitemaps. HTML sitemaps are a directory of all website pages, presented in a structured format that users can easily navigate. Unlike XML sitemaps for search engines, HTML sitemaps are for human users.

HTML sitemaps offer users a view of the website’s structure and content hierarchy. This is beneficial for larger websites with complex navigation, as users can quickly locate specific pages or sections without navigating through multiple menus.

Ensuring Complete Indexing of Your Site

With a sitemap, you can ensure that all your site’s pages are indexed by search engines, including pages that might be hard to find through standard crawling.

Different Methods to Create a Sitemap in WordPress

Using Plugins

WordPress offers plugins that make creating sitemaps easy and efficient. Popular options include Yoast SEO and Google XML Sitemaps. Yoast SEO automatically generates and updates XML sitemaps. Google XML Sitemaps offers customization options, allowing you to include or exclude content types and set update frequencies. Other plugins like All in One SEO Pack and Rank Math also provide sitemap generation along with additional SEO tools. These plugins ensure your sitemap is correctly generated and maintained, enhancing your website’s SEO without requiring technical knowledge.

Manual Creation

For those who prefer a hands-on approach, sitemaps can also be created manually by coding.

Automated Tools

Automated tools for generating sitemaps are crucial for website owners aiming to improve their site’s visibility and accessibility on search engines. Online tools such as Google Sitemap Generator, Screaming Frog, and Yoast SEO offer user-friendly interfaces and powerful functionalities to create comprehensive sitemaps that seamlessly integrate into WordPress sites. These tools automate the process of mapping out site structure, ensuring all pages, posts, and media are included.

Google Sitemap Generator generates XML sitemaps specifically for Google’s crawlers while Screaming Frog provides in-depth insights and can crawl large websites efficiently. Yoast SEO not only generates sitemaps but also integrates with the WordPress dashboard, offering additional SEO optimization features. These tools simplify the process of keeping sitemaps up to date as websites evolve, ensuring new content is quickly indexed by search engines and improving search engine ranking and user experience.

Popular Sitemap Plugins for WordPress

Yoast SEO

yoast seo


Yoast SEO is a leading WordPress plugin designed to meet all your SEO needs. This comprehensive tool handles sitewide and on-page SEO, as well as sitemaps. Upon activation and enabling the sitemap feature, Yoast SEO generates an XML sitemap that links to your website’s content. This sitemap automatically updates whenever you make changes to your content, such as adding or removing pages or posts.

Google XML Sitemaps

The Google XML Sitemaps plugin automates the creation and updating of XML sitemaps, which is crucial for search engine indexing. It seamlessly integrates with major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and, notifying them of sitemap updates for faster indexing.

The plugin supports various WordPress content types and offers customization options to exclude specific pages, prioritize content, and set URL values. Overall, it’s an essential tool for improving website visibility and search engine rankings.

All-in-One SEO Pack

all in one seo

All in One SEO is one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress, trusted by over 3 million professionals to enhance their website’s search rankings. It offers a comprehensive SEO toolset, including smart XML sitemaps. The sitemap module is fully customizable and code-free, allowing you to include or exclude post types and taxonomies as needed. You can also prioritize your highest-converting pages to ensure they are crawled and indexed efficiently.

How to Install and Configure Yoast SEO for Sitemaps

Installing and Configuring Yoast SEO for Sitemaps

To install and configure Yoast SEO for sitemaps, follow these steps:

Step 1: Install Yoast SEO

First, you need to install the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress website. You can do this by logging into your WordPress dashboard, navigating to the “Plugins” tab, and clicking the “Add New” button. Search for “Yoast SEO” and install the plugin.

Step 2: Activate Yoast SEO

After installation, activate the Yoast SEO plugin by clicking the “Activate” button.

Step 3: Enable XML Sitemaps

In the Yoast SEO settings, navigate to the “XML Sitemaps” tab. Click the toggle button to enable XML sitemaps.

Step 4: Customize Sitemap Settings

You can customize the sitemap settings to your liking. For example, you can limit the number of entries in the sitemap, specify the post types to include, and more.

Step 5: View and Submit Sitemap

To view your sitemap, navigate to the “XML Sitemaps” tab and click the “View Sitemap” button. You can then submit the sitemap to Google Search Console and other webmaster tools.

Creating a Sitemap with Google XML Sitemaps

To create a sitemap with Google XML Sitemaps, you first need to determine the purpose of your sitemap. Do you want to provide information about the structure of your website, assist search engines in crawling your website, or make it easier for users to navigate your site? Once you have determined your purpose, you can use one of the available tools to create your sitemap.

Free Online Sitemap Generator

You can use a free online sitemap generator, such as, to create a sitemap for your website. This tool allows you to enter your website’s URL and then generate an XML sitemap that you can submit to Google and other search engines.

Here is an example of how to use the tool:

  • Enter your website’s URL in the “Enter your website’s URL” field.
  • Choose the type of sitemap you want to create (e.g. full, partial, or specific pages).
  • Customize the sitemap with your desired settings (e.g. title, description, and keywords).
  • Click the “Generate Sitemap” button to create the sitemap.

Google Sitemap Generator

Alternatively, you can use Google’s sitemap generator to create a sitemap. This tool allows you to create a sitemap in several formats, including XML, RSS, and Atom.

Here is an example of how to use the Google sitemap generator:

  • Go to the Google Search Console and sign in with your Google account.
  • Click on the “Sitemaps” tab and then click on “Create a sitemap”.
  • Enter your website’s URL and choose the type of sitemap you want to create (e.g. full, partial, or specific pages).
  • Customize the sitemap with your desired settings (e.g. title, description, and keywords).
  • Click the “Generate Sitemap” button to create the sitemap.

Submit Your Sitemap to Google

Once you have created your sitemap, you need to submit it to Google. You can do this by following these steps:

  • Go to the Google Search Console and sign in with your Google account.
  • Click on the “Sitemaps” tab and then click on “Submit a sitemap”.
  • Enter the URL of your sitemap in the “Sitemap URL” field.
  • Click the “Submit” button to submit your sitemap.

Using All in One SEO Pack for Sitemaps

Installation Process

All-in-One SEO offers both free and pro versions. To install the free version, navigate to your WordPress admin and access the Plugin » Add New page. From there, search for All in One SEO, then proceed to install and activate it.

install all in seo plugin

If you’re looking to enhance your SEO efforts with advanced features, consider upgrading to the pro version. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a plugin file and a license key within your AIOSEO account. Upload the plugin file to your site and activate your premium access using the provided license key.

Setting Up the Sitemap Feature

Upon activating AIOSEO, the setup wizard will launch automatically, simplifying the process of configuring the optimal SEO settings for your website.

all in seo setup


As you begin using the wizard, you’ll encounter questions designed to help the plugin understand your website’s purpose and to configure your preferred settings.

We won’t delve into the entire wizard extensively since it’s self-explanatory and quite straightforward to navigate independently.



The XML sitemap feature is already enabled by default, so no additional action is required from your end.

Further down the page, you’ll find advanced options to create video and news sitemaps if necessary. However, access to these features requires subscribing to the pro plan.

That’s all for now! Simply save your settings and proceed. Once you finish setting up the wizard, All in One SEO will automatically generate the XML sitemap for you.

Submitting to Search Engines

Submit the generated sitemap URL to search engines through their respective webmaster tools.

Manual Creation of Sitemaps

Basic HTML Sitemap

Creating a basic HTML sitemap page involves listing your site’s pages and organizing them into categories for easy navigation. Identify all pages and categorize them logically. Use HTML markup to create headings for categories and list individual pages beneath them with hyperlinks.

Keep the layout clean and intuitive, avoiding clutter. Integrate the sitemap into your site’s navigation for accessibility. Regularly update the sitemap to reflect changes or additions to your website’s structure.

XML Sitemap with Code Examples

To manually create an XML sitemap for your WordPress site, generate XML code listing all URLs and metadata. Start with the XML declaration and define the root element `<urlset>` with the sitemap namespace. Within `<urlset>`, list each URL using `<url>` elements. Include `<loc>` for the URL, `<lastmod>` for the last modification date, `<changefreq>` for the change frequency, and `<priority>` for the URL priority. Save the file with a .xml extension (e.g., “sitemap.xml”) and upload it to the root directory of your WordPress site. This ensures accessibility to search engine crawlers, aiding in indexing. Optionally, submit the sitemap to search engines like Google via their webmaster tools for further indexing assistance.

Here’s an example of how the XML code might look:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="">
<!-- Additional URLs go here -->

Uploading to Your WordPress Site

You can upload the manually created sitemap to your site using an FTP client or your hosting provider’s file manager.

  1. Install and activate the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
  2. Navigate to Settings > XML-Sitemap to configure the plugin.
  3. Click on the “Rebuild Sitemap” button to generate the sitemap.
  4. After the sitemap is generated, locate the sitemap URL under the “XML-Sitemap” option in the settings.
  5. Submit the sitemap to Google Search Console to enhance the indexing of your website


Automated Sitemap Tools

Online Sitemap Generators

Use online tools like to generate a sitemap. Download the generated file and upload it to your WordPress site.

Integrating Generated Sitemaps with WordPress

After uploading, link the sitemap in your site’s robots.txt file and submit it to search engines.

Submitting Your Sitemap to Search Engines

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google to help website owners monitor and maintain their site’s presence in Google search results.

Adding your sitemap to Google Search Console helps Google quickly discover your content, even if your website is brand new.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Visit the Google Search Console website and sign up for an account.
2. Select a property type: You can choose either a domain or a URL prefix. We recommend choosing a URL prefix as it is easier to set up.


Enter your website’s URL and click the ‘Continue’ button.

You will then need to verify your website’s ownership. Several methods are available, but we recommend using the HTML tag method.


Copy the code displayed on the screen and navigate to the admin area of your WordPress website.

If you’re using AIOSEO, the process is straightforward. Go to **All in One SEO » General Settings**, then click on the **Webmaster Tools** tab. Here, you can enter the code from Google for easy verification.



If you’re not using AIOSEO, you can add code to your WordPress site easily and safely using the WPCode plugin.

First, install and activate the WPCode Free Plugin. For detailed instructions, refer to our step-by-step guide on installing a WordPress plugin.

Once activated, go to Code Snippets » Header & Footer, and paste the copied code into the ‘Header’ box.



Don’t forget to click the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your modifications.

Next, switch back to the Google Search Console tab and click the ‘Verify’ button.

Google will check for the verification code on your site and add it to your Google Search Console account.

Note: If verification is unsuccessful, clear your WordPress cache and try again.

With your website verified, let’s add your XML sitemap.

From your account dashboard, click on ‘Sitemaps’ in the left column.



Next, add the last part of your sitemap URL in the ‘Add a new sitemap’ section and click the ‘Submit’ button.

Google will then add your sitemap URL to your Google Search Console.

It may take some time for Google to crawl your website. Once it does, you’ll be able to view basic sitemap statistics.

These statistics include the number of links Google found in your sitemap, how many were indexed, the ratio of images to web pages, and more.



Bing Webmaster Tools

Similar to Google Search Console, Bing offers Bing Webmaster Tools to help website owners manage their site’s presence in Bing’s search results.

To submit your sitemap to Bing, visit the Bing Webmaster Tools website.

You have two options for adding your site: either import it from Google Search Console or add it manually.


If you’ve already added your site to Google Search Console, we recommend importing it to save time, as your sitemap will be automatically imported.

If you prefer to add your site manually, you will need to enter your site’s URL and verify ownership.

Bing will prompt you to verify your website ownership using various methods.

We suggest using the Meta tag method. Copy the meta tag provided and paste it into your WordPress admin area.


Now, install and activate the free WPCode plugin on your website.


Other Search Engines

Submit your sitemap to other search engines using their webmaster tools for broader indexing.

Regularly Updating Your Sitemap

Importance of Updating

Regular updates ensure that new content is indexed quickly and old content remains accessible.

Automated Updates with Plugins

Many sitemap plugins automatically update the sitemap when new content is added.

Manual Update Procedures

If manually managing your sitemap, update it whenever you add or remove content from your site.

Troubleshooting Common Sitemap Issues

Sitemap Not Updating

Ensure your plugin settings are correct or manually refresh the sitemap.

Errors in Google Search Console

Check for and resolve any errors reported by Google Search Console to maintain proper indexing.

Broken Links in Sitemap

Regularly check your sitemap for broken links and fix them to maintain a healthy site structure.

Best Practices for Sitemaps in WordPress

Keeping Your Sitemap Clean

Keeping your sitemap clean involves excluding pages that don’t need indexing, such as admin pages or duplicate content. Admin pages typically contain sensitive information or functionality not meant for public consumption. Including them in your sitemap can confuse search engines.

Similarly, duplicate content can harm SEO efforts, as search engines struggle to determine which version to index. To implement these practices, audit your site, identify unnecessary pages, and use tools like Google Search Console to exclude them from indexing. Regular monitoring and adjustments will keep your site optimized for search engine visibility.

Prioritizing Important Pages

Ensure your most important pages are listed in the sitemap to improve visibility. Prioritizing important pages involves strategic planning to enhance their visibility and accessibility on a website. It starts with creating or optimizing a sitemap, ensuring critical pages like the homepage, main categories, and key product/service pages are prominently featured.

This process helps users and search engines easily navigate to important content, signalling its significance for ranking purposes. Strategically prioritizing these pages in the sitemap improves user experience and search engine visibility, contributing to overall website performance.

Excluding Unnecessary Pages

Exclude irrelevant pages to keep your sitemap concise and focused. When trimming down your sitemap, remove pages that don’t add value. Evaluate each page’s purpose: if it doesn’t provide useful information, enable user interaction, or align with organizational goals, consider removing it. This includes redundant, outdated, or duplicate content, as well as low-traffic pages.

However, be cautious not to impact SEO or user accessibility. Collaboration among content creators, developers, and stakeholders ensures a comprehensive evaluation and agreement on exclusions. This systematic approach improves site navigation and overall performance.


Creating a sitemap for your WordPress site is a vital step in enhancing your SEO and ensuring that all your content is indexed by search engines. Whether you use a plugin, manual methods, or automated tools, maintaining an up-to-date sitemap will improve your site’s visibility and user experience. Take the time to implement and regularly update your sitemap, and you’ll see the benefits in your site’s performance and search engine rankings.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *