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Ultimate Guide + Tutorial: How to Build and Submit a Sitemap for SEO Success

In the ever-evolving landscape of online content, ensuring that search engines can efficiently crawl and index your website is crucial. One powerful tool to achieve this is the humble sitemap. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of creating and submitting a sitemap, providing actionable tips and best practices along the way.

Sitemap Formats: Choosing the Right One for Your Site

Understanding the different sitemap formats is the first step in optimizing your website’s visibility. Here’s a quick comparison:

XML Sitemap


  • Extensible and versatile.
  • Can provide detailed information about URLs, including images and videos.
  • CMS users can find plugins for easy generation.


  • Can be complex to maintain on larger sites.

RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0 Sitemaps


  • Often automatically generated by CMS.
  • Suitable for providing information about videos.


  • Limited to providing information about videos.
  • May be cumbersome to work with.

Text Sitemap


  • Easy to create and maintain.
  • Ideal for smaller sites.


  • Limited to listing URLs for HTML and indexable pages.

Sitemap Best Practices

To ensure your sitemap is effective, follow these best practices:

Sitemap Size Limits

  • Limit a single sitemap to 50MB (uncompressed) or 50,000 URLs.
  • Break large sitemaps into smaller ones if needed.
  • Consider creating a sitemap index file for better organization.

Sitemap File Encoding and Location

  • Host sitemaps at the site root for broader coverage.
  • Ensure the sitemap file is UTF-8 encoded.
  • Use fully-qualified, absolute URLs for accurate crawling.

Referenced URLs’ Properties

  • Include only fully-qualified URLs in your sitemap.
  • If URLs differ for mobile and desktop versions, consider annotating to indicate versions.
  • Follow the sitemaps protocol for a complete list of best practices.

XML Sitemap: The Versatile Format

The XML sitemap format stands out for its versatility. Here’s a basic example:

<urlset xmlns="">

Additional Notes:

  • All tag values in XML files must be entity-escaped.
  • Google ignores <priority> and <changefreq> values.

RSS, mRSS, and Atom 1.0 Sitemaps: Simplifying the Process

If you have a blog, you can leverage your RSS or Atom feed as a sitemap. Key details:

  • Google accepts RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds.
  • Use mRSS to provide information about video content.

Text Sitemap: Simple Yet Effective

For sitemaps limited to web page URLs, a text file is a straightforward solution:

Additional Notes:

  • Include only URLs in the text file.
  • Name the file with a .txt extension (e.g., sitemap.txt).

How to Create a Sitemap

Deciding which URLs to include in your sitemap is crucial. Depending on your site architecture and size, choose one of the following methods:

Let Your CMS Generate a Sitemap

For CMS users, platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Blogger often generate sitemaps automatically. Check your CMS documentation for details.

Optimizing Sitemaps for CMS Users: A Seamless Approach

Content Management Systems (CMS) have become integral for website management, offering user-friendly interfaces and powerful functionalities. One such essential feature is the automatic generation of sitemaps. If you’re using platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Blogger, here’s how you can leverage your CMS for an effortless sitemap creation process.

Let Your CMS Take the Lead

Many popular CMS platforms understand the importance of sitemaps in enhancing search engine visibility. Here’s a step-by-step guide for CMS users:

  1. WordPress:
  • WordPress is renowned for its vast plugin ecosystem. If you’re using WordPress, various plugins like Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps can automatically generate sitemaps for you.
  • Navigate to your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins, and search for a suitable sitemap plugin.
  • Install and activate the plugin, following the provided instructions.
  • The plugin will generate a sitemap, and you can find its location in the plugin settings.

Optimizing Sitemaps on WordPress: Exploring Top Plugins

WordPress, with its extensive plugin ecosystem, offers a variety of options to automatically generate sitemaps. Here, we’ll delve into the installation and activation processes for several prominent plugins, ensuring you have the flexibility to choose the one that best suits your needs.

1. Yoast SEO:

Navigate to your WordPress dashboard:

  • Log in to your WordPress admin panel.
  • Locate the left-hand menu and click on “Dashboard.”

Go to Plugins:

  • In the dashboard menu, find and click on “Plugins.”

Search for Yoast SEO:

  • In the Plugins section, click “Add New.”
  • In the search bar, type “Yoast SEO.”

Install Yoast SEO:

  • Once the Yoast SEO plugin appears in the search results, click “Install Now” next to the plugin name.

Activate the Plugin:

  • After installation, click “Activate” to enable the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site.

Configure Yoast SEO for Sitemaps:

  • Yoast SEO provides a comprehensive suite of SEO tools. To configure your sitemap settings:
  • Navigate to the “SEO” tab in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Click on “General.”
  • Head to the “Features” tab.
  • Find the “XML Sitemaps” feature and ensure it’s toggled on.

Locate Your Sitemap:

  • With Yoast SEO activated, your sitemap is automatically generated.
  • To find the sitemap, go to “SEO” in the dashboard, click on “General,” and then select the “Features” tab. Click on “XML Sitemaps” to view and copy the sitemap URL.

2. SEOPress:

Search for SEOPress:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” and click “Add New.”
  • Type “SEOPress” into the search bar.

Install and Activate SEOPress:

  • Click “Install Now” next to the SEOPress plugin, then activate it.

Set Up Sitemap in SEOPress:

  • Go to “SEO” in your dashboard and click on “Dashboard.”
  • Navigate to the “Sitemaps” tab.
  • Ensure the “Enable XML sitemap” option is turned on.

Find Your Sitemap:

  • Once activated, SEOPress generates a sitemap.
  • To locate your sitemap, go to “SEO” in the dashboard, click on “Sitemaps,” and copy the provided sitemap URL.

3. Rank Math:

Install Rank Math:

  • From your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” and click “Add New.”
  • Search for “Rank Math” and install the plugin.

Activate Rank Math:

  • After installation, click “Activate” to enable Rank Math.

Configure Sitemap Settings:

  • Navigate to “Rank Math” in your dashboard.
  • Click on “Dashboard.”
  • Find the “Sitemap” section and configure your sitemap settings.

Locate Your Sitemap:

  • Once configured, Rank Math automatically creates a sitemap.
  • To find your sitemap URL, go to “Rank Math” in the dashboard and click on “Sitemap Settings.”

4. All In One SEO (AIOSEO):

Search for AIOSEO:

  • In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Plugins” and click “Add New.”
  • Search for “All In One SEO” and install the plugin.

Activate AIOSEO:

  • After installation, click “Activate” to enable All In One SEO.

Configure AIOSEO for Sitemaps:

  • Go to “All In One SEO” in your dashboard.
  • Click on “Feature Manager” and ensure the “XML Sitemap” feature is activated.

Find Your Sitemap:

  • AIOSEO generates a sitemap upon activation.
  • To locate your sitemap URL, go to “All In One SEO” in the dashboard and click on “XML Sitemap.”

5. SEOPress:

Install SEOPress:

  • Access your WordPress dashboard and go to “Plugins” > “Add New.”
  • Search for “SEOPress” and install the plugin.

Activate SEOPress:

  • After installation, click “Activate” to enable SEOPress.

Configure Sitemap Settings:

  • Navigate to “SEOPress” in your dashboard.
  • Click on “Settings” > “XML Sitemap.”
  • Ensure the “Enable XML sitemap functionality” option is checked.

Locate Your Sitemap:

  • SEOPress automatically generates a sitemap.
  • To find your sitemap URL, go to “SEOPress” in the dashboard and click on “Settings” > “XML Sitemap.”

By exploring these plugins, WordPress users can effortlessly enhance their site’s SEO by ensuring search engines have access to a well-structured and regularly updated sitemap. Choose the plugin that aligns with your preferences and website requirements, and enjoy the benefits of optimized sitemap functionality.

  1. Wix:
  • Wix simplifies the process for users with its intuitive interface. If you’re on Wix, the platform automatically creates a sitemap for your website.
  • Access your Wix dashboard, go to SEO settings.
  • Under SEO settings, you can find the option to view your sitemap.
  • Wix ensures that your sitemap is regularly updated, reflecting changes to your site’s structure and content.

Harnessing Sitemaps on Wix: A Seamless Guide

Wix, known for its user-friendly interface and robust features, streamlines the process of sitemap creation for its users. Here’s a step-by-step guide to effortlessly access and manage your sitemap on Wix:

1. Wix Dashboard Access:

Log in to Your Wix Account:

  • Begin by logging in to your Wix account. Navigate to Wix’s official website and sign in using your credentials.

Access Your Website Dashboard:

  • Once logged in, you’ll land on your Wix dashboard. This is your central hub for managing all aspects of your website.

2. Navigate to SEO Settings:

Locate the ‘Site’ Section:

  • On your Wix dashboard, find the section labeled ‘Site.’ This is where you manage various settings related to your website.

Go to SEO Settings:

  • Within the ‘Site’ section, look for ‘SEO’ settings. Click on it to access the Search Engine Optimization settings for your website.

3. View Your Sitemap:

Explore SEO Settings:

  • In the SEO settings, Wix provides a range of options to optimize your site for search engines.

Find the Sitemap Option:

  • Look for an option related to sitemaps. Wix typically labels it as ‘Sitemap’ or ‘View Sitemap.’

Access the Sitemap:

  • Click on the identified option to view your sitemap. Wix ensures that this process is straightforward, allowing users to access their sitemap with ease.

4. Sitemap Maintenance:

Regular Updates by Wix:

  • Wix takes the initiative to keep your sitemap up to date automatically.
  • Any changes made to your site’s structure or content are promptly reflected in the sitemap.

Verify Sitemap Accuracy:

  • Periodically check your sitemap to ensure it accurately represents your site’s current state.
  • Verify that new pages are included, and obsolete ones are removed, maintaining the integrity of your sitemap.


Wix’s intuitive approach to sitemap management ensures that users, regardless of technical expertise, can effortlessly access and benefit from a regularly updated sitemap. By following these simple steps, you can navigate your Wix dashboard, access SEO settings, and view your sitemap with confidence. Let Wix handle the intricacies, allowing you to focus on creating and enhancing your website’s content and structure.

  1. Blogger:
  • Google’s Blogger platform seamlessly integrates sitemap creation.
  • From your Blogger dashboard, go to Settings and then Search Preferences.
  • Find the Crawlers and Indexing section, where you can enable the option to show a sitemap.
  • Your Blogger sitemap URL will be displayed, typically in the format atom.xml.

Navigating Sitemaps on Blogger: A Hassle-Free Approach

Blogger, a user-friendly platform under the Google umbrella, effortlessly incorporates sitemap creation into its interface. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you seamlessly access and showcase your sitemap on Blogger:

1. Access Your Blogger Dashboard:

Log in to Your Blogger Account:

  • Start by logging in to your Blogger account. Visit the Blogger website and enter your credentials to access your dashboard.

Navigate to Your Blog:

  • Once logged in, you’ll land on the main Blogger dashboard. Locate and click on the specific blog for which you want to manage the sitemap.

2. Go to Search Preferences:

Access Settings:

  • On the left-hand side of your Blogger dashboard, find and click on “Settings.” This is where you configure various aspects of your blog.

Explore Search Preferences:

  • Within the Settings menu, look for the option labeled “Search preferences.” Click on it to access settings related to how your blog interacts with search engines.

3. Enable Sitemap Display:

Locate Crawlers and Indexing:

  • In the Search Preferences section, navigate to the “Crawlers and Indexing” category. This is where you can fine-tune how search engines index your blog’s content.

Enable Sitemap Display:

  • Within the Crawlers and Indexing section, find the option related to sitemaps. Look for a checkbox or toggle switch that allows you to enable the display of your blog’s sitemap.

4. Identify Your Sitemap URL:

View Sitemap URL:

  • Once you’ve enabled the option to display your sitemap, Blogger will generate a sitemap URL for your blog.
  • Typically, the sitemap URL follows the format atom.xml.

Copy Your Sitemap URL:

  • Click on the displayed sitemap URL to view it. Copy the URL from your browser’s address bar.


Blogger’s seamless integration of sitemap management ensures that users can effortlessly enable and showcase their blog’s sitemap. By following these straightforward steps, you can navigate your Blogger dashboard, access Search Preferences, and enable the display of your sitemap with ease. Let Blogger take care of the technicalities, allowing you to focus on creating and sharing compelling content with your audience.

CMS Plugin Considerations

While CMS platforms automate the sitemap generation process, it’s crucial to choose the right plugins or settings to ensure optimal results:

  • Plugin Reliability:
  • Check the reviews and ratings of sitemap plugins before installation. Opt for reputable plugins with regular updates and a history of positive user experiences.
  • Customization Options:
  • Look for plugins that offer customization options. Depending on your site’s complexity, you may need to adjust sitemap settings to include specific content types.
  • Indexing Control:
  • Some plugins allow you to control which content is included in the sitemap. This can be beneficial if you want to exclude certain pages from search engine indexing.

Regular Checks and Updates

While CMS platforms automate the initial setup, it’s essential to stay proactive:

  • Check Plugin Compatibility:
  • Ensure that your chosen sitemap plugin is compatible with the current version of your CMS. Updates to your CMS might require corresponding updates to your sitemap plugin.
  • Review Sitemap Structure:
  • Periodically review your sitemap structure, especially if you make significant changes to your site. Confirm that new pages are included, and obsolete ones are removed.
  • Monitor SEO Performance:
  • Keep an eye on your site’s SEO performance through tools like Google Search Console. If you notice any issues, such as pages not being indexed, revisit your sitemap settings.

By allowing your CMS to handle sitemap generation automatically, you save time and ensure a consistent and accurate representation of your website for search engines. Check your CMS documentation for specific instructions tailored to your platform, and enjoy the benefits of a seamlessly managed sitemap.

Manually Create a Sitemap

For smaller sites, consider manually creating a sitemap using a text editor and following the syntax described in the Sitemap Formats section.

Automatically Generate a Sitemap with Tools

For larger sites, use tools or have your website software generate the sitemap. Ensure the sitemap adheres to size limits.

Note: Google doesn’t prioritize the order of URLs in a sitemap.

Submitting Your Sitemap to Google

While submitting a sitemap doesn’t guarantee immediate action, it’s a crucial step for optimal crawling. Here are various methods:

Use Search Console

  • Access the Sitemaps report.
  • Submit your sitemap or sitemap index file.
  • Monitor Googlebot’s access and identify processing errors.

Use Search Console API

For programmatic submission, utilize the Search Console API.

Include in Robots.txt

Insert the sitemap line in your robots.txt file:


WebSub for Atom or RSS

If using Atom or RSS, utilize WebSub to broadcast changes to search engines.

Cross-Submitting Sitemaps for Multiple Sites

For those managing multiple websites, streamline the process with these methods:

Sitemap Cross-Submission with Search Console

  • Verify ownership of all sites.
  • Create a single sitemap or sitemap index file covering all desired sites.
  • Submit via Google Search Console.

Sitemap Cross-Submission with Robots.txt

  • Create individual sitemaps for each site.
  • Host all sitemaps in a single location.
  • Reference each site’s sitemap in its robots.txt file.

Troubleshooting Sitemaps

In case of issues, consider the following:

  • Verify correct sitemap size and encoding.
  • Ensure proper sitemap submission through the chosen method.
  • Check for errors or issues in the Sitemaps report on Search Console.


Building and submitting a sitemap is a fundamental step in optimizing your website for search engines. By understanding the nuances of different sitemap formats and following best practices, you ensure that your content is efficiently discovered and indexed, contributing to improved search visibility. Stay informed, monitor your sitemap’s performance, and adapt as needed for ongoing SEO success.

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Hassan Essam

Guess what? Hassan Essam is not just the cool cat in charge at "Hassan Essam Project Management," he's also the proud pioneer—aka the first-ever Egyptian sensation—on the international judging panel of the Search Awards Global edition. Yup, breaking barriers and bringing that Egyptian flair to the global SEO stage!

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