An XML sitemap is a file that lists all pages of a website, providing search engine crawlers with a roadmap to help them discover, crawl, and index the site’s content more efficiently. The sitemap includes information such as the URL of each page, when it was last updated, how frequently it changes, and its relative priority compared to other pages on the site.

XML sitemaps are particularly useful for new websites, websites with large numbers of pages, complex structures, or pages that may not be easily discoverable through normal crawling, such as those not well-linked from other pages.

Google recommends having both an XML sitemap and an RSS/Atom feed for the following reasons:

  • XML sitemaps provide a comprehensive list of all the important pages on a website, ensuring that search engines are aware of all the content that should be indexed.
  • RSS/Atom feeds help search engines discover new content quickly, as they are updated whenever new content is published. This is particularly important for websites that frequently add new pages, such as blogs or news sites.
  • Using both types of sitemaps can improve search engine visibility and ensure that new content is indexed promptly, potentially leading to better search rankings and more traffic.
  • RSS/Atom feeds can also help engage users by allowing them to subscribe to updates and easily access new content.

By providing both an XML sitemap and an RSS/Atom feed, website owners can give search engines a thorough understanding of their site structure and content, while also offering users an easy way to stay updated with the latest additions to the site.

How to Get Sitemaps in WordPress

WordPress automatically generates an XML sitemap for each site. To get both an XML sitemap and an RSS one, as Google recommends, WordPress users can install All in One SEO (AIOSEO).

The plugin will automatically generate and update both types of sitemaps. All in One SEO also provides a click-button way to submit your sitemap to Google.

5 Sitemap Best Practices