How To Submit XML Sitemaps to Google, Bing, and Yandex

With search engines ranking unique, relevant, and timely content higher, a well-maintained XML Sitemap is crucial to any SEO strategy.

XML Sitemap Navigation

When meeting with a potential client, one of the first things I do is review some simple areas of their website to give me a better understanding of their search engine optimization health. The XML Sitemap is on my top 3 areas checklist.

What Is An XML Sitemap?

This simple file communicates directly with the search engines to alert them to any new of changed content quickly. Therefore, it ensures that your content is indexed faster by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Human Translation: An XML Sitemap is similar to a city train schedule. In it you will find a map to each train station, the routes to get there, and a timetable. Similarly, the search engines are provided with your main website’s landing pages, your website’s navigation, and the dates those pages were last modified.

(Please note that an XML Sitemap is very different than a HTML sitemap. The latter is for humans and cannot be linked to the search engines directly.)

Why Is An XML Sitemap Important For SEO?

Google’s Panda search engine algorithm cares about published content, syndication, and duplicate content. An XML Sitemap is the best way to establish their claim as the content originator and owner.

Content may come and go but the search engines always want to know about it.

How To Get Started with XML Sitemaps

Now that you know you must have an XML Sitemap, it’s time to set it up (or update it). Depending on content management systems (CMS), here are a couple of Great XML Sitemap creation tools:

  • Yoast SEO Plugin – This SEO tool is specifically for WordPress self-hosted websites. Once set up correctly, the plugin will take care of updating the search engines with every change to your website.
  • XML-Sitemaps.com – If you don’t have a CMS or don’t know which one you have, then this is a great SEO tool to install on your domain. It will do everything Yoast does for XML Sitemap creation, but you will need a web developer to help you install it.

How To Submit XML Sitemap to Google

  • Create your file and ensure it no bigger than 10M in size.
  • Verify that the file is on your web server and accessible by URL.
  • Log into Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Go to “Crawl” > “Sitemaps”.
  • Click “Add/Test Sitemap” and enter the ending URL for your sitemap.

How To Submit XML Sitemap to Bing

  • Verify that the file is on your web server and accessible by URL.
  • Log into Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Click “Configure My Site” > “Sitemaps”.
  • Enter the URL in the “Submit to Sitemap” box.

How To Submit XML Sitemap to Yandex

  • Verify that the file is on your web server and accessible by URL.
  • Log into Yandex Webmaster Service.
  • Click “My Sites” and choose site. (Add one if it isn’t there.)
  • Click “Indexing” > “Indexing Options” > “Sitemap Files”.
  • Add URL.

It isn’t enough to believe that if you build your website, they will come. Give the search engines directions and updates so they don’t get lost. Then they will come!

Photo courtesy of Search Engine Journal.

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