How to set up and use XML Google Sitemap on WordPress

Hi. Welcome to  In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use the plugin XML Google Sitemap, and this plugin is a way to tell Google about pages on your site that they may not otherwise have discovered.

So the sitemap is kind of like a building directory that, before installing it, Google does not know what it is when it gets there.  So by installing this plugin, it allows Google, as well as other search engines, to index content from your site to include in their search results.

So it’s actually a really good plugin to have.  And to start, what you want to do is install the plugin.  So I came to and clicked the plugins directory.  And in alphabetical order, I found it.  And here it is, Google XML Sitemap Generator.  So I downloaded it here as a zip file, and then I came and I uploaded it by going to “Add New Plugins” and clicking “Upload.”

Now what I’m going to do next is bring you through all the settings of this plugin.  However, I do want to emphasize that I would not activate this plugin until your website is completed and ready to launch because once it’s activated, it sends a message to Google to come check out
your site, and you don’t want Google or other search engines to come check out your site if it’s not up to par with your expectations or if not everything’s done.

So definitely do not activate the plugin until your site is ready.  You can install it; just do not activate it.

So now that I’ve shown you where to find the plugin, what we’re going to do next is go to the plugin settings.  So you come to the Settings link on your navigation menu, and since you’ve now installed it, it will come up as XML Sitemap.  And you click that link, and it’ll bring you to a settings page.

Now the good thing about this is a lot of the settings are already set up default, so I really wouldn’t worry too much about changing any of hem. However, if you are a webmaster or a technical developer, then you may want to investigate some of these alternate settings that are not checked by default a little bit further just to understand how they can be of value to you and your site.

So I’m not really going to be going through a lot of these alternate default settings.  So now here we have…this is just telling you that all of these different sites were successfully notified about the changes that I have made.

Now next, we have the basic options.  So here, it just shows us that certain files have been written.  It gives us…  It’s…by default, was checked –
it says “Rebuild sitemap if you change the content of your blog,” so you want to keep that checked by default.  Some of these settings that are unchecked, you can – if you want more information – click this question mark, and it will give you more information about that setting.

It also just shows you that it notifies Google about updates of your blog. These are just checks if you want those sites to be updated.  And then like I said, there are advanced options that, if you do want to check out, you can.  I would further investigate them.

Finally, we have this additional Pages box, and what this means is that some people want to include other pages that do not belong to either WordPress or their blog.  So here, you can include those pages by clicking “Add New Page.”  This way, now by adding the page, now Sitemap can not only map out your blog, but it maps out whatever content you add in the new page. So you would just click that here, and you would insert the URL and make these changes.

Next, we have the Post Priority section.  So some posts and pages you have get more traffic than others and they’re more popular, so this option – these options, rather – allow you to push priority on a popular page that is getting more attention.  So the more clicks you have, the more Google thinks that that’s important and pushes it up on the search engine results list.  So this, I would definitely also use these options under Post Priority.

Next, we have the Location of your Sitemap File.  So here is where the location is.  If you have something different and you want to customize it, you would click “Custom Location” and insert your changes there.

And now we have what you want included that Sitemap finds.  So if you want your homepage included and your posts, of course, keep those checked.  If you want other things that are unchecked included, such as Categories, Archives, Author Pages, you would check these as accordingly.

And then if you want certain things excluded, you would then choose anything that’s in this excluded content right here.  You would check the box if you don’t want it shown – if you don’t want it found by Sitemap.

And then the last two options.  The Change Frequencies option: This basically, by choosing any of these options – always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and never – is telling Google and these search engines how often to come search these aspects, how often that you want them to search your homepage, your posts, your static pages, and so on.  So depending on what you want them to search for more often, you will set these changes to how you want it to be.

And then the very last option, pretty self-explanatory.  You decide to choose which pages you want prioritized. So if you want your homepage to be the first priority, you would make it one; if you want it to be the second priority, third, fourth.  You change all of these according to how you want them prioritized.

And then finally, I will emphasize just always to make sure you update your options or else anything that you did may, in fact, have changed will be saved.

And this is how you use your XML Sitemap plugin.  Please stay tuned for more videos.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.