yoast sitemaps

Yoast Sitemaps | How to Create, Edit, and Submit

If you have a WordPress site you can manage your sitemap is with Yoast sitemaps. In this blog we’ll learn a bit more about XML sitemaps. We’ll also explain how to use Yoast to view, manage, and customize your sitemap, and how to submit it to Google.

What is an XML Sitemap?

XML is a markup language (in the same way that HTML is a markup language) designed to store and transport data. It stands for eXtensible Markup Language. XML is the language that stores data about the pages that you want search engines to index on your site. Here are 3 key things to know about the relationship between XML, sitemaps, and Yoast.

  1. XML is a language used to store and transport sitemap data.
  2. A sitemap is a guide to search engines regarding what pages should be indexed and eligible to show in search results.
  3. Yoast is a popular plugin used to manage SEO on WordPress sites. Yoast is the tool that we use to manage sitemaps.

How to Create Yoast Sitemaps?

One of the great things about Yoast is that it automatically creates a sitemap for your WordPress site based on the specific types of pages that are indexed. To view your Yoast sitemap take the following steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress site
  2. Look for the “Y” Yoast icon in the left-hand dashboard menu and click it.
  3. The menu will expand. Now click on “General”.
  4. Access the “Features” tab as shown below.
  5. Click on the question mark to the right of “XML sitemaps” as shown below.
  6. Click on the blue link to “See the XML sitemap”

how to access yoast sitemaps

You’ll be directed to a URL that is yourdomainname.com/sitemap_index.xml. Before we make any changes, here is what the sitemap looks like for rootandbranchgroup.com

default yoast sitemap

How to Customize Yoast Sitemaps

To customize a Yoast sitemap we turn search engine indexing on or off for different types of content. You do that through the “Search Appearance” menu within Yoast by changing settings for Content Types and Taxonomies. Here’s how we do that.

  1. Look for the “Y” Yoast icon in the left-hand dashboard menu and click it.
  2. The menu will expand. Now click on “Search Appearance”.
  3. Access the “Content Types” tab as shown below.
  4. Expand into each of the different Content Types (Posts shown below) and enable or disable indexing by toggling “Yes” or “No” under “Show Posts in search results?”. Toggle this to “no” to apply noindex tags to all pieces of content within that Content Type and remove them from the XML sitemap. In this case, we want our Posts to be indexed so we’re going to keep this on “Yes”. For anything that should not be in the sitemap, change this to “No.”
  5. Now click on the “Taxonomies” tab (two to the right of the “Content Types” tab shown below). This is where you can remove Categories and Tags from your sitemap. Note: if you have a strategy for using categories and tags, you should keep them turned on.

yoast search appearance

After making all of your changes, you can once again view your sitemap at yourdomainname.com/sitemap_index.xml. Here is what ours looks like now.

customized sitemap with yoast

How to Submit Yoast Sitemap to Google

To submit our Yoast sitemap to Google we need to have the URL of our newly customized sitemap and we need to have our site verified with Google Search Console. Then, we simply click on the “Sitemaps” section within Search Console, enter the URL for our XML sitemap, and hit the Submit button. Here are those individual steps.

  1. Log in to your Search Console property at search.google.com. Note, if you haven’t verified your site with Search Console, you will need to do this first.
  2. Click on the “Sitemaps” menu item on the left-hand side of the Search Console navigation.
  3. Copy your sitemap URL (yourdomainname.com/sitemap_index.xml) and paste it into the field below “Add a new sitemap” as shown in the first image below.
  4. Hit submit. You will see a message from Search Console that says “Sitemap submitted successfully.”
  5. You will now see your sitemap in the submitted sitemaps as shown in the second image below.
submit sitemap to google

Image 1 of 2: submit sitemap to google

sitemap submitted succesfully

Image 2 of 2: sitemap submitted successfully

Sitemap is Done! Now Continue with Other SEO Efforts

Your sitemap is now customized and submitted. Congratulations! Now continue with some other SEO efforts. Maybe work on some SEO content writing or up your digital analytics measurement by learning how to implement button click tracking. And if we can help with any hands on training or support, feel free to get in touch.

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