How to Configure Google XML Sitemaps for WordPress

By Lisa Sabin-Wilson

You can use Google XML Sitemaps for your WordPress site right out of the box with very little configuration. After you install it, you need to tell the plugin to create your site map for the first time. You can accomplish this easy task by following these steps:

  1. Click the XML-Site map link on the Settings menu on your Dashboard.

    The XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress options page appears in your browser window.

  2. In the top module, titled Search Engines Haven’t Been Notified Yet, click the Your Sitemap link in the option that begins with the words Notify Search Engines.

    The XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress page refreshes, and the Search Engines Haven’t Been Notified Yet module is replaced by the Result of the Last Ping module, showing the date when your site map was last generated.

  3. (Optional) View your site map in your browser.

    Click the first site-map link in the top module or visit http://yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml (where yourdomain.com is your actual domain).

Google xml sitemap generator
XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress settings.

You never need to visit your site map or maintain it. The XML Sitemap Generator maintains the file for you. Every time you publish a new post or page on your website, the plugin automatically updates your site map with the information and notifies major search engines — such as Google, Bing, and Ask.com — that you’ve updated your site with new content. Basically, the plugin sends an invitation to the search engines to come to your site and index your new content in their search engines.

Having a Google webmaster account can further assist Google in finding and indexing new content on your site. If you don’t already have one of these accounts, visit Google, click the Sign In link in the top-right corner, click the Create an Account Now link, and follow the onscreen steps to create a new Google account. After you sign in to the account, you can set up the Google webmaster tools and add your site map to Google.

In the Basic Options section of the XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress plugin page, select every check box you see.

All the other default settings are fine for you to use, so leave those as they are. In the Sitemap Content section, which is in the middle of the XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress page, select the following check boxes: Include Homepage, Include Posts, Include Static Pages, Include Categories, and Include the Last Modification Time. Making these selections allows search engines to crawl your site in the most efficient way.