XML Sitemap Versus RSS and Atom Feeds
Most Search engines accept both XML and RSS/Atom feeds. But it is good you know when and how to use both versions of sitemaps.
XML Sitemaps contains a comprehensive list of all relevant URLs on your website at a given time, which is updated daily to reflect the total number of published page and URLs in your website. Example of a typical XML sitemap is http://www.domainname.com/sitemap.xml. where "domainname.com" is your site's domain name.
For a WordPress blog, the typical sitemap URL is http://www.domainname.com/sitemap_index.xml
While RSS and Atom feeds contain only URLs of recently published posts and pages. Example of a typical RSS/Atom feed sitemap URL is http://www.domainname.com/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=501&max-results=500.
For Google search console, the preferred sitemap version is the XML version because it is a comprehensive sitemap version. However, search engines like Bing and Yahoo prefer that you submit both RSS/Atom feed URL and an XML Sitemap for proper and accurate site crawling and indexing. Also Make sure that your post URLs don't contain incremental date stamps that changes each time a new sitemap is generated.
Also note that before you can submit your sitemap to search engines like google and yahoo, you need to first add your Before I go ahead to show you how to submit your sitemap to google, bing and yahoo search engines, let me first walk you through on how to submit your website to google search console, formerly known as google webmaster and then to bing search engine.
READ: 9 SECRETS TO GETTING AN APPROVED GOOGLE ADSENSE & WHY YOUR APPLICATIONS WERE REJECTED
How to Submit Your Website to Google Search Console
Search engines are quite smart in finding a sitemap. Whenever you publish new content a ping is sent to Google and Bing to inform them about changes in your sitemap. However, we recommend that you submit your sitemap to Google by using Google Webmaster tools. The benefit of this is that Google will now show you any errors, pages indexed, and other relevant stats that will be helpful to you as a webmaster. Once you add/submit your website to google you need to add the verification code to your website.
To Submit Your Site On Google Webmaster:
1. Go to Google Webmaster Tools at www.google.com/webmasters. Click the Search Console button. You will be redirected to sign in to your Google account if you are not yet signed .
2. You will then be taken to Google Search Console home page. Click the Add a Property button and then type in the domain name or URL of the website you wish to add. For example: http://www.mydomainname.com/. Then click the Add a Property button again as shown in the screenshot below.
Next, you will be asked to verify the website you just submitted. There are several ways to achieve this. But the simplest and most suiting method for a blogger site is to copy the HTML Meta tag code and paste it in the head section of your blogger template. To do that click on Alternate methods and then on HTML Tag. You will then see a line of HTML Meta tag code.
Note that for a WordPress blog you need to use the SEO plugin to add this HTML meta tag code.
See: Review Of Bluehost - One Of The Most Recommended Web Hosting Companies
To Copy & Paste the Google Verification Code to Your Blogger Template:
1. Go to www.google.com/webmasters/tools. Click on the website you just added to google search console.
2. From the website verification page, click the Alternate methods and then select the HTML tag option.
3. Select and copy the meta tag code as shown in the screenshot below.
Don't close this verification window yet. When you must have pasted the code, you need to come back and click the Verify button as shown in the screenshot above.
4. To paste the verification code in your blogger template: Login to blogger. Click Theme > Edit HTML.
5. Press Ctrl + F to find "< head>" tag and then paste the verification code in the first or second separate line after the < head> tag.
6. Go back to google webmaster site verification window and click Verify. Google checks if you have added the HTML code.
How to Submit Your Sitemap to Google Webmaster
After you have submitted your website to Google Search Console, the next step is now to submit your sitemaps. You need to submit two sitemaps: one for your posts' URLs and the other for your site pages (though the second one is optional).
To Submit Your Sitemaps to Google Search Console:
1. Go to Google Search Console and sign in to your google account. Then select your website you wish to submit its sitemap from the Search Console home page.
2. Click Crawl > Sitemaps in the left sidebar.
3. Click the Add/Test Sitemap button located at the top of the page.
4. To submit the URLs of your posts: for a blogger website, type sitemap.xml in the text box and click Submit as shown in the screenshot below.
5. To submit your blogger site page URLs: Repeat steps 1 to 4 and then type in sitemap-pages in the text box this time around. Then click Submit.
Congrats! You have just successfully submitted your sitemap to google search console.
Let me now walk you through on how to submit your website and sitemap to Bing and Yahoo search engines!
How to Submit Your Website & Sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools
Before you can submit your sitemap to Bing search engine, you need to first submit your website to Bing Webmaster Tools. Note that you only need to submit your website or blog to Bing Webmaster tools. When you submit your sitemap to Bing, your blog pages will be crawled and indexed by both Yahoo and Bing because Yahoo site explorer has been merged with Bing dearch engine.
To Submit Your Website & Sitemap to Bing Webmaster:
1. Sign in to Bing Webmaster Tools at https://www.bing.com/webmaster/home/mysites. Sign up for a new account if you do not have a Microsoft account yet.
The next step is to verify your ownership of the website you just submitted. Bing Webmaster gives you three site verification options:
2, Click on Add a Site. Type in the URL of the website you want to submit to bing webmaster. For example: http://www.mydomainname.com and then click ADD as shown in the screenshot below.
3. in the next page, you will need to add a sitemap in the textbox. Bing webmaster requires that you add the full URL of your sitemap unlike in google webmaster. For a blogger site, type in: http://www.mydomainname.com/sitemap.xml
For a WordPress blog, type in:
Replace the mydomainname with the real domain name of the website or blog you wish to submit its sitemap. Then click the ADD button again as shown in the screenshot below.
I recommend option 2 because it is the easiest especially for those using CMS like Blogger, WordPress, Drupal, Jumla, etc. All you need to do is to copy the meta tag code and paste it in the <head> tag of your blog template and save it as I explained in the previous section of this tutorial. Then come back to the bing site verification window and click the VERIFY button as shown in the screenshot below.
- Option 1: Place an XML file on your web server
- Option 2: Copy and paste a <meta> tag in your default webpage (Recommended Option)
- Option 3: Add CNAME record to DNS
It takes up to 3 days for Bing and Yahoo Search engines to crawl and index your site posts and URL.
Wordpress webmasters should also note that they need to create an XML sitemap in WordPress before submitting it to search engines and the easiest method is to use the Yoast WordPress Plugin. WpBeginner.com simplifed the whole process!
SEE: HOW TO BOOST YOUR SITE'S SEO WITH GOOGLE TAG MANAGER