Video: WordPress SEO Setup Guide – XML Sitemaps

Posted OnJan 19, 2014     CategoryPlugins, Videos     CommentsNo comment

Audio Transcript

In this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to set up XML Sitemaps in Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.

So here you can see we’re starting off with the dashboard and I’ve already clicked on SEO here in the left hand menu. Now what I need to do is click on XML Sitemaps. The first option we have is to enable the XML Sitemap functionality. That raises the question just what is a sitemap.

A sitemap is essentially a map of your website, but one that’s made for search engines rather than people. It’s recommended that you have it because all the major search engines do look for a sitemap. It just makes their life in order of discovering your content on your website a lot easier.

It also helps tell the search engine what to not index as well. So always make sure you have that enabled. The next option we have is regarding the user sitemap. You can choose to disable it, though it will be enabled by default. Now if you’re only running a one-user website, so it’s only you running the website, you don’t have any other authors, it’s probably best to choose to disable that because otherwise, you will end up with a sitemap that looks exactly like your home page and there’s potential that Google may decide that that is duplicate content and you may be penalised.

Again, it’s a maybe. It’s not a definite. So it’s up to you if you want to do that. I’m only running a one-author website, so I’m going to keep mine disabled because it’s just not required. But of course if you do run a multiple-author website, it’s best you leave that enabled. Next we have general settings and what we can do here is we can choose to ping Yahoo and in the instance that a new post is published or the sitemap is updated in essence.

I choose to enable these. Now you might actually note here in the description. It says that it automatically pings Google and Bing already. Naturally Yahoo and Ask represent a much smaller percentage of search traffic that you will receive. So there’s not as much value to be gained in doing it. But it’s better than no value at all. So I recommend enabling those.

Next, we have Exclude Post Types. It allows us to choose what we do and don’t want in the sitemaps. Naturally posts and pages will be in the sitemap and that’s because they’re currently unchecked. Media, so any images or video that you upload, by default will not appear in sitemap. It’s best to leave that just as it is because it’s very unlikely that you will have anything to gain by enabling media or appearing in the sitemap.

Next, we can exclude different taxonomies such as categories, tags and formats. By default, none of these will be excluded from the sitemap. It’s really best to leave them in the sitemap depending on your website. You make choose to disable them though.

Finally, we’ve got entries per page and as it says here, the default entries per page will be 1000. Now, if you have a phenomenally large WordPress website with an absolutely abundant amount of posts, you can choose to lower this amount. But you don’t really need to do that in the instance that in generating a sitemap your server was running out of memory. It can happen. It’s unlikely but it’s just really good to be aware of it.

I’m just not going to change that for now. I haven’t had any problems on any of my servers before but at least I know that option is there if I need it.

Finally, we can just click Save Changes. So that will save this and as it says here, you don’t need to generate the sitemap. It won’t take time to generate after publishing a page either.

If you want to view your sitemap, you can just click this link here. There we go. So we’ve got posts, pages, categories and tags. No media as we said earlier and no author sitemap. Here’s a look at the pos sitemap. It just has all of the posts we have in it. It also lists the amount of images in this column, how often it’s updated in terms of being on the sitemap and when it was published.

So that’s really all there is to know when it comes to setting up XML sitemaps in this wonderful plugin. If you have any questions about sitemaps or what might be the best for you, please ask in the comments.

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