Sitemaps are a list of pages on your website you want a search engine, like Google, to index. Once google has crawled the pages of your website, they will show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for them. We’ll show you how to set one up.
And in case you missed it, read our previous article about why your website isn’t coming up in Google search results for some added context.
An important idea to keep in mind is that a sitemap is not a list of ALL pages of your website, only pages that provide value to your users.
Reasons To Exclude Pages From Your Sitemap
There’s a lot of reasons to exclude pages of your website from your sitemap. Think about it as if you owned a restaurant and Google was your customer. The pages you include in your sitemap are like items on your restaurant’s menu; they are there to show the customer what you have to offer. The pages you exclude from your sitemap are like your restaurant’s freezer. Your customer doesn’t need or want to see whats in your freezer.
To really drive the idea home, pages you want to exclude from you sitemap might be pages with thin content, administration pages, account center pages, etc. Pages like these serve no purpose to users searching for your website through a search engine, they are only considered valuable after the user has found your website and decided to create an account or engage with your product. Pages like these can potentially hurt your website’s rankings if they are included in your sitemap.
The Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
Yoast has a very helpful plugin for WordPress websites that makes it easy to create and manage your sitemap. Configuring the plugin is fairly simple.
If you don’t have time to work through the setup and installation of the Yoast SEO plugin, MOJO provides an all in one service that will install, setup and create your sitemap while also submitting it to your search console account.Learn More
To use the Yoast SEO XML sitemap tool, first install the Yoast SEO plugin. After the installation is complete, you can find and access Yoast SEO in the left navigation column. Click into the XML sitemaps portion of the plugin and enable the functionality. You’ll now be able to configure your sitemap to include and exclude pages of your choosing.
After you’ve completed the configuration of your sitemap, saving the settings will activate your sitemap. A link will appear with the location of your website’s sitemap. Go ahead and click the link, copy your sitemap’s URL and submit it to your search console account.