How to Submit Your Sitemap to Google for Better SEO


A sitemap is a crucial component for improving your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) as it provides search engines like Google with a structured overview of all the pages on your site. By submitting your sitemap to Google, you increase the chances of your pages being crawled and indexed accurately, ultimately boosting your website’s search engine ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).

In this short guide, we will walk you through the process of submitting your sitemap to Google, explain what an XML sitemap should contain, and provide insights on detecting and fixing any issues with your sitemap.

Do I Need a Sitemap?

This is a fairly common question. The short answer is, yes, having a sitemap for your website is highly recommended. While it is not mandatory for search engine optimization (SEO) or indexing your site, having a sitemap can greatly benefit your website’s visibility and performance in search engine results.

A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website, providing essential information about the structure and organization of your site’s content. Here are a few reasons why having a sitemap is important:

Improved crawlability

A sitemap helps search engine bots understand the layout of your website and discover all the pages more efficiently. It ensures that search engines can crawl and index your pages accurately, improving their visibility in search results.

Page prioritization

By including the priority attribute in your sitemap, you can indicate the relative importance of different pages on your site. This can guide search engines in understanding which pages to crawl and prioritize, potentially boosting the visibility of your most important content.

Freshness and updates

Including the last modified date of each page in your sitemap informs search engines about the freshness and recency of your content. This can help search engines prioritize crawling recently updated pages, ensuring that the latest information is reflected in search results.

Indexing of deep or complex pages

If your website has pages that are buried deep within the site’s structure or are not easily accessible through internal links, a sitemap can provide an alternative method for search engines to discover and index these pages.

Supplementary information: Apart from URLs, a sitemap can include additional information such as the page’s language, title, and other metadata. This can provide search engines with more context about your pages, aiding in accurate indexing and improved search visibility.

How to Submit Your Sitemap to Google

To initiate the process of submitting your sitemap to Google, you need to create an account in Google Search Console, which is a free web service provided by Google. Once you have an account, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Log into Google Search Console

Access your Google Search Console account by logging in and selecting the website for which you want to submit the sitemap. This can be done by clicking on the desired website in the top left corner of the console.

  • Step 2: Go to the Sitemaps report in Google Search Console

Navigate to the “Sitemaps” report, which can be found in the “Indexing” section of the left sidebar menu.

You will encounter two options in this section:

  • “Add a new sitemap”
  • “Submitted sitemaps”

For now, let’s focus on the first option.

  • Step 3: Click the “Add a new sitemap” button

Within the “Sitemaps” report, locate and click on the “Add a new sitemap” button. You will be presented with various options for uploading sitemaps, such as “XML sitemaps” and “HTML sitemaps.” Although HTML sitemaps are useful for navigation purposes, they do not contribute to SEO. It is recommended to use an XML sitemap specifically designed for search engine optimization.

Finding the URL of Your XML Sitemap

Here are a few effective ways to find the URL of your XML sitemap:

Try the most common placement: Many websites have their XML sitemap located at https://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml. Replace “yourdomain.com” with your actual domain name to access the sitemap.

Use a search operator: Perform a Google search using the query “site:yourdomain.com filetype:xml” to find the location of your sitemap. This search operator will display any XML sitemaps associated with your domain.

Check your robots.txt file: Open your website’s robots.txt file located at https://yourdomain.com/robots.txt. It may contain a directive or a link to your XML sitemap.

By utilizing these methods, you can easily locate the URL of your XML sitemap and proceed with the necessary steps to submit it to Google for improved SEO performance.

  • Step 4: Enter the URL of your sitemap

Once you have located or generated your XML sitemap, copy the URL. Return to the “Add a new sitemap” section in the Google Search Console and paste the URL into the provided field.

  • Step 5: Click the “Submit” button

After pasting the URL of your sitemap, click the “Submit” button. Google will then initiate the crawling process and start indexing the pages listed in your sitemap.

What an XML Sitemap Should Contain

An XML sitemap serves as a structured representation of your website’s pages, allowing search engines to better understand and navigate your site. When creating an XML sitemap, it is essential to include specific information for each page to provide comprehensive details to search engines. Here’s an explanation of the key elements that an XML sitemap should contain:

The URL of the page

The URL, which stands for Uniform Resource Locator, is the specific web address where each page of your website can be found. It provides the location information for search engines to access and crawl your web pages accurately.

The last modified date of the page

Including the last modified date in your XML sitemap informs search engines about the most recently updated content on your website. This date helps search engines prioritize crawling and indexing pages that have been recently modified, ensuring that the latest information is reflected in search results.

The priority of the page

The priority value in the XML sitemap represents the relative importance of a page compared to other pages on your website. The priority ranges from 0.0 (lowest priority) to 1.0 (highest priority). This element is used as a hint for search engines to understand which pages you consider more significant. However, it’s important to note that search engines may not strictly adhere to this priority value, as they use their own algorithms to determine page importance.

The frequency of changes to the page

The frequency of changes indicates how often the content on a particular page is likely to change. This information helps search engines determine the appropriate crawling frequency for each page. Common values for the frequency element include “always,” “hourly,” “daily,” “weekly,” “monthly,” “yearly,” and “never.” Providing an accurate frequency helps search engines allocate their resources effectively when crawling and indexing your pages.

In addition to these elements, you have the option to include other information in your XML sitemap to provide further context to search engines:

The title of the page

Including the title of each page in the XML sitemap helps search engines understand the content and relevance of the page. The title provides a concise description of the page’s topic and can assist search engines in determining its relevance to specific search queries.

The language of the page

If your website serves content in multiple languages, specifying the language of each page in the XML sitemap helps search engines understand the linguistic context. This information enables search engines to provide more accurate search results to users searching in a particular language.

Robots instructions for the page

Robots instructions, such as “index” or “noindex,” can be included in the XML sitemap to guide search engine bots on how to handle indexing for each page. For example, you may choose to prevent search engines from indexing certain pages by including the “noindex” directive.

By including these elements in your XML sitemap, you provide search engines with crucial information about your website’s structure, content updates, page priorities, and more. This helps search engines crawl and index your pages more effectively, leading to improved visibility and SEO performance for your website.

How to Detect and Fix Issues with Your Sitemap

If you encounter difficulties while attempting to submit your sitemap to Google or suspect that there might be errors within the sitemap, there are steps you can take to identify and rectify any issues. Follow the guidelines below:

First, go to the Sitemap Report in Google Search Console. From here, access your Google Search Console account and navigate to the Sitemaps report. This report provides an overview of the sitemaps associated with your website.

Locate your sitemap and click the “Validate” button next to it. Within the Sitemaps report, find the specific sitemap you want to validate and click the “Validate” button. This action prompts Google to analyze the sitemap and check for any errors or problems.

After that, Google will then analyze your sitemap and notify you of any errors or problems detected. Once the validation process has begun, Google will thoroughly examine your sitemap. If any errors or issues are found, Google will generate a report outlining the specific problems encountered.

If errors are found, you can fix them by editing your sitemap and resubmitting it to Google: Once you have identified the errors or issues, you need to make the necessary corrections to your sitemap. Edit the sitemap file to address the identified problems, ensuring that the structure and content adhere to the required standards. Once you have made the appropriate modifications, resubmit the updated sitemap to Google using the “Add a new sitemap” section in the Sitemaps report.

By diligently following these steps, you can address any difficulties or errors in your sitemap and ensure that it is accurately submitted to Google. This process plays a crucial role in enhancing your website’s SEO. By providing Google with the correct and up-to-date information through your sitemap, you increase the likelihood of your website being crawled and indexed correctly. As a result, your website’s visibility and ranking on search engine result pages can improve, leading to increased organic traffic and better overall performance.

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