In my last post in this WordPress SEO series, we covered how to use the XML-Sitemaps plugin so you could generate a sitemap for your WordPress site. Today, we’re going to cover the best way to get Google to recognize that sitemap and start crawling your site!
The first thing you’re going to need is a Google account (a Gmail account should suffice).
Once you have that, you’ll want to head over to the Google Webmaster Tools. Now, I could spend all day explaining all the different things you could do in here, but instead, I’ll just link you over to a much more in-depth article that you can read at your leisure.
Once you have arrived at the Google Webmaster Tools page and have signed in, the first thing you’ll want to do is add a site. Just input the URL for your site (the one you want crawled by Google) and click “Add Site”.
The next page will ask you to verify the site. Obviously, you shouldn’t be able to claim you own a site when you don’t. So, Google uses one of two methods of verification — you can either upload an html file to the root of your website’s domain, or you can insert a META tag in the <head> section of your website.
Either option is fine, but you do have to do one or the other.
After you have verified your site, click the “Sitemaps” link on the left menu. This is where you are going to tell Google the location of the sitemap you generated (normally located at www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml).
Click the “Add Sitemap” button on the left menu and choose “Add General Web Sitemap”.
Finally, you’ll want to tell Google the location of your sitemap. Depending on whether you chose to “gzip” your sitemap, the location of your sitemap will either be www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml or www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml.gz — so be sure to input the correct location here. If you chose to do both (XML and gzip) then you could enter either of these and be fine.
That’s it! Click “Add General Web Sitemap” and Google will begin crawling your site (based on your sitemap) soon.
Yahoo and MSN Search have similar programs to which you can submit your sitemap as well. But for the sake of time, we’re just covering Google here, since they are the biggest. Truth be told, most of your search engine traffic will probably come from Google, no matter what you do.
Now that you have Google crawling and indexing your site, we want to make sure everything else is optimized for it. Next time, we’ll cover how to edit the permalinks in WordPress so that you can use targeted keywords and start getting ranked for the keywords you want. Don’t miss it!