Setting up XML Sitemaps BWP Google XML Sitemaps

Posted OnOct 5, 2014     CategoryPlugins     CommentsNo comment

In this section of the guide to the BWP Google XML Sitemaps plugin, we will take a look at configuring XML Sitemaps.

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

Step 1) Login to the WordPress Dashboard.

Step 2) On the left-hand sidebar of the Dashboard navigate to BWP Sitemaps -> XML Sitemaps.

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Below is information on how to configure your Sitemap(s):

Your Sitemaps

When the BWP Google XML Sitemaps plugin was activated, sitemaps were automatically generated based on the default settings for this plugin. Only the sitemapindex file needs to be submitted as search engines will automatically recognize other included sitemaps.

  • sitemapindex.xml

    Click the sitemapindex hyperlink to display the XML Sitemap Index page, where can view a list of xml files that were created and their locations.

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    You can drill-down further by clicking on any hyperlink on the XML Sitemap Index page to view a break-down of files for the selected area.

    For example, clicking the post_product.xml hyperlink will display a list of files for each product in your online store.

    Note: To save the xml file, right mouse click on a hyperlink and select the Save Link As menu item.

  • site.xml

    Click the site hyperlink to view a link to your website which is where the main xml file is located.

    The Priority, Change Frequency and Last Modified Date columns indicate the settings in the xml file.

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Sitemaps to Generate

From the list shown below, place check mark(s) in the appropriate checkbox(es) to generate the sitemaps. For each sitemap, you can use filters to further exclude items you do not need. Click here for examples.

A. Enable following sitemaps: Place check mark(s) in the check box(es) you want to generate a sitemap for. The default values are Site Address and Taxonomy.
B. For post-based sitemaps, disable following post types: For post-based sitemaps, place check mark(s) in the appropriate check box(es) to disable sitemap generation for the selected options.
C. For taxonomy-based sitemaps, disable following taxonomies: For taxonomy based sitemaps, place check mark(s) in the appropriate check box(es) to disable sitemap generation for the selected options.

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Item Limits

You can limit the number of items to output in one sitemap file.

D. Global Limit Enter a value to restrict the number of items in one sitemap file (numbers and decimals only). This value will be applied to all sitemaps. The default value is 5000 items. The max. value is 50000.

Note: Do not enter a number that your server can not handle or you may encounter an error due to a timeout or memory issue.

E. Split post-based sitemaps If a check mark is placed in this check box, then once the Global Limit entered above is reached for the post-based sitemap, this sitemap will be split into separate files as shown below.
F. Split Limit Enter a value to restrict the number of items in the Split file(s) (numbers and decimals only). If you leave the default value of 0, then the value entered for the Global Limit will be used. The max. value is 50000.

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Default Values & Formatting

In this area you can customize default values and some formatting for your sitemaps.

G. Default Change Frequency From the dropdown list, select how often your website content changes. The default value is Daily.
H. Default Priority This value is the priority of a URL relative to other URLs on your site. Valid values range from 0.0 – 1.0. This value lets the search engines know which of your pages you deem most important so they can order the crawl of your pages in the way you would most like. The default value is 1.0.
I. Minimum Priority This value sets the minimum value assignment for other pages on your site. The default value is 0.1. We recommend this be set at 0.5.
J. Use GMT for Last Modified date Place a check mark in this check box to disable this option and to use the local timezone setting in Settings -> General.
K. Compress Sitemaps Place a check mark if this check box to use gzip to make sitemaps (70% smaller). If you see an error after enabling this option, it’s likely that you have gzip active on your server already.

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Look and Feel

This area allows you to customize the look and feel of your sitemaps.

Note: An XSLT stylesheet will NOT be used for the Google News Sitemap module regardless of any setting in this section.

L. Make sitemaps look pretty If this check box contains a check mark, then the default XSLT stylesheets will be used. You can set your custom stylesheets below or filter the bwp_gxs_xslt hook. Click here for examples.
M. Custom XSLT stylesheet URL Enter an an absolute URL.
For example, http://example.com/my-stylesheet.xsl.
You must also have a stylesheet for the sitemapindex that can be accessed through the above URL. Leave blank to use stylesheets provided.
N. Enable build stats Placing a check mark in this check box prints useful information such as build time, memory usage, SQL queries, etc. This is checked by default.
O. Enable credit This option will give credit to this plugin inside your sitemap. This is checked by default.

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Virtual robots.txt

WordPress generates a virtual robots.txt file for your blog by default.

You can add links to sitemapindex files generated by this plugin to the robots.txt file by leaving this check box checked.

If you’re on a Multi-Site installation with Sub-Domain enabled, each blog will have its own robots.txt file. Blogs in Sub-Directories will not.

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Ping Search Engines

Whenever you post something new to your blog, you can ping search engines with your sitemapindex to tell them your blog has just been updated.

P. Enable pinging Checked by default, this option will ping search engines when you publish new posts. By default all public posts are considered, unless explicitly disabled below.
Q. Search engines to ping Both Google and Bing are checked by default. We recommend this setting.
R. Disable pinging for following post types: Place a check mark beside each item you do not want to ping. By default no check boxes contain check marks.
S. Ping limit for each search engine Enter the number of times you want to ping your site/day. The default value is 100 times/day. Increase this limit if you publish a lot of posts in a single day.

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Caching

Cache your sitemaps for better performance.

Note: If you are still configuring the plugin it’s best to disable caching or you might have to manually flush the cache for any changes to show up.

T. Enable caching Place a check mark in this check box if you want your sitemaps generated and then cached to reduce unnecessary work. The default value is unchecked.
U. Enable auto cache re-generation Leave this option checked to re-generate the sitemap cache once it has expired. If you uncheck this, remember to manually flush the cache once in a while. The default value is checked.
V. Cache expiry time Enter a value in the text box and select an option from the dropdown list to set the Cache Expiry Time. The default value is 1 Hour.
W. Cache directory Enter an absolute path to a writable directory (i.e. CHMOD to 755 or 777) in the text box.

Leave empty to use /home/example/public_html/wp-content/plugins/bwp-google-xml-sitemaps/cache/.

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Sitemap Modules

Enter a value in the Default Query Limit text box to only get this many items when querying from Database. This is to make sure you are not running heavy queries. The default value is 1000.

Enter an absolute path to the directory in the Custom module directory where you put your custom modules.
For example, /home/mysite/public_html/gxs-modules/. You can also override a built-in module by having a module with the same filename in specified directory.

Click here for details on extending this module.

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Sitemap Log & Debug

In this area you can create and view your Sitemap Logs and if you are getting an error, you can turn on Debug Mode and Extra Debug Mode to resolve any issues.

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The buttons at the bottom give you the option to:

  • Save Changes
  • Save Changes and Flush Cache
  • Flush Cache
  • Clear all Logs

Let’s click the Save Changes and Flush Cache button.

The next step of the guide will focus on the Google News Sitemap feature.

 


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