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Submitting a Sitemap to Google- A Straightforward 4 Step Guide

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Submitting a Sitemap to Google- A Straightforward 4 Step Guide

Blog / Submitting a Sitemap to Google- A Straightforward 4 Step Guide

Submitting a Sitemap to Google- A Straightforward 4 Step Guide

Submitting your website’s sitemap to Google is a crucial step to improve your SEO. By doing so, you enable the search engine to crawl and index your web pages efficiently. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the following:

  • Step-by-step instructions on how to submit your sitemap to Google.
  • Essential components that an XML sitemap should include.
  • Techniques for identifying and resolving any issues that may arise with your sitemap.

Let’s delve into the details and optimise your website’s visibility on search engines.

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How to Submit a Sitemap to Google

You can submit your sitemap directly to Google using the free tool called Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools.

Please note: If you don’t currently have a Google Search Console account, you will need to create one. For detailed instructions on setting up your account, refer to our comprehensive guide on Google Search Console.

Below, we present a step-by-step walkthrough on how to submit your sitemap:

Step 1- Access Your Google Search Console Account

To begin, access your Google Search Console account by logging in.

Next, choose the specific website for which you intend to submit a sitemap. This is applicable if you have multiple properties listed under the same account. Simply select the desired website from the options available in the top left corner.

Step 2- Navigate to the Sitemaps Report

In the left sidebar menu, locate and click on the “Sitemaps” report, which can be found within the “Indexing” section. This report allows you to manage all your sitemaps effectively. It consists of two primary sections:

  • “Add a new sitemap
  • “Submitted sitemaps

For now, let’s focus on the first section, where you can add a new sitemap to your website.

Step 3- Locate the URL of Your Sitemap

There are two primary types of sitemaps: XML sitemaps and HTML sitemaps. To SEO, we will focus on XML sitemaps in this guide.

To locate your XML sitemap, you can employ the following effective methods:

  • Try the common placement: In many cases, your XML sitemap can be found at the URL
  • Use a search operator: Perform a Google search using the query “ filetype:xml” to potentially discover the location of your sitemap.
  • Check your robots.txt file: Access your robots.txt file, which is typically available at It may contain a reference or direct link to your XML sitemap.

If you don’t currently have an XML sitemap, it will be necessary to create one. Look at our comprehensive guide on how to create an XML sitemap for detailed instructions.

Step 4- Add a New Sitemap

Now, it’s time to add your sitemap to the “Add a new sitemap” section within the “Sitemaps” report.

Simply paste the URL of your sitemap into the provided field and click on the “Submit” button.

Upon submission, you will receive a confirmation message indicating the successful submission of your sitemap.

After a certain period, you will be able to locate your sitemap in the list of “Submitted sitemaps.” This list displays essential information such as the submission date, the last read date, and the number of pages discovered by Google within the sitemap.

The most crucial aspect is the status of your sitemap submission. A green “Success” status signifies that there are no issues detected.

However, if you encounter a “Couldn’t fetch” or “Has errors” status, it is essential to address the highlighted issues by following the suggestions provided in the report.

For a more detailed understanding of potential issues and how to identify them, refer to the “Sitemap Issues” section of this guide.

What Should a Sitemap Include?

Utilising your sitemap is vital for indicating the important pages you wish search engines to index and display in their search results.

To ensure your XML sitemap contains the necessary information, focus on the following key elements:

  • URLs for indexing: Include only those pages that do not have a “noindex” tag, as it is unnecessary to include pages you do not want indexed.
  • “lastmod” value: Provide the last updated date of each page to indicate its freshness.
  • “hreflang” value: If your website has localised versions of pages, specify the language or region variations in the sitemap.

However, there are certain elements you should not include in your sitemap:

  • Non-canonical pages: Exclude duplicate or near-duplicate versions of the same page, and only include the one with the canonical tag.
  • 3xx or 4xx pages: Omit URLs that result in 4xx (client error) or 3xx (redirect) status codes from your XML sitemap.
  • “changefreq” and “priority” values: Avoid using these values, as Google disregards them, rendering them ineffective.

If you are using popular content management systems (CMSs) such as WordPress, Wix, or if you generated your sitemap with a reputable sitemap generator, you can rest assured that these items are typically taken care of. These CMS platforms and generators usually adhere to best practices and automatically include the necessary information in your sitemap.

Identifying and Resolving Sitemap Issues

Identifying and resolving sitemap issues is crucial to ensure optimal performance and indexing of your website by search engines. Here are some key steps to address common sitemap issues:

  • Validate your website sitemap: Use tools like the Google Search Console or third-party validators to check the validity and correctness of your website sitemap. Ensure that it adheres to the XML sitemap standard and doesn’t contain any errors or formatting issues.
  • Check for indexing errors: Monitor the indexing status of your sitemap using Google Search Console. If you notice that certain pages are not being indexed, it could indicate errors within your sitemap. Review the affected URLs and assess if they meet the necessary criteria for inclusion in the sitemap.
  • Verify sitemap accessibility: Ensure that your sitemap is easily accessible to search engines. Double-check the URL of your sitemap and confirm that it can be accessed without any authentication or permission restrictions.
  • Resolve broken links: Broken links within your sitemap can hinder proper indexing of your website. Use online tools or website crawlers to identify and fix any broken links present in your sitemap. Replace them with valid URLs to improve the overall integrity of your sitemap.
  • Utilise a sitemap template or generator: If you are manually creating your sitemap, consider using a sitemap template or utilising a reliable sitemap generator. These tools can help ensure that your sitemap structure is correctly formatted and includes all the essential elements required by search engines.
  • Leverage Google sitemap tools: Take advantage of Google’s sitemap-related features and tools. For instance, use the Google Search Console to submit, monitor, and manage your sitemap. Additionally, utilise the Google sitemap validator to validate your sitemap and identify any potential errors or issues.

By following these steps and addressing any identified sitemap issues promptly, you can enhance the overall visibility and indexing of your website on search engines like Google.


Is it Necessary to Submit a Sitemap to Google?

While it is true that Google’s bots will eventually crawl your website, submitting a sitemap can expedite this process. Uploading your sitemap to Google Search Console is widely regarded as an SEO best practice. It only takes a few seconds to complete this step, making it highly recommended.

By doing so, you can proactively help Google understand the structure and content of your website, potentially leading to faster and more accurate indexing of your pages.

How Can I Remove My Sitemap from Google?

At times, it can be more convenient to replace an old sitemap with a new one, particularly if there have been significant changes to the site’s architecture or if the old sitemap contains numerous errors.Follow these step-by-step instructions to remove a sitemap from Google:

  • Sign into your Google Search Console account.
  • If you manage multiple websites, choose the specific website for which you wish to remove the sitemap from the top left corner.
  • Navigate to the “Sitemaps” section located within the “Indexing” category in the left sidebar menu.
  • In the “Submitted sitemaps” section, locate the line corresponding to the sitemap you want to remove.
  • Click on the three-dot menu icon situated in the top right corner, and then select “Remove sitemap.”
  • Confirm the removal by clicking the “Remove” button in the subsequent pop-up window.
  • Allow some time for Google to process your removal request.

Alternatively, you can delete the sitemap file directly from your website. After a certain period of unavailability, Google will cease checking the file.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove an outdated sitemap from Google and ensure that the search engine’s indexing aligns with the updated structure of your website.

Can Multiple Sitemaps be Used?

Certainly! Utilising multiple sitemaps can be advantageous, especially when you have different types of content to include. For instance, you can have separate sitemaps for pages, posts, videos, and more.

Furthermore, there are specific limitations set by Google for a single sitemap file. If your sitemap exceeds 50MB (uncompressed) or contains over 50,000 URLs, you will need to use multiple sitemaps.

In such cases, you can create a sitemap index file, which serves as a master sitemap containing references to all your individual sitemaps. The sitemap index file includes the URLs of each individual sitemap.

To submit multiple sitemaps to Google Search Console, follow these steps:

  • Create a sitemap index file that references all your individual sitemaps.
  • Follow the instructions mentioned in this guide to submit the sitemap index URL to Google Search Console, just like you would with a regular sitemap.

By using a sitemap index file, you can efficiently manage and organise your multiple sitemaps, allowing Google to crawl and index your content effectively.

Learn More: Tips for Enhancing Your Google Rankings Safely

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