Recently it was announced that the upcoming WordPress 5.5 update scheduled for August 11, 2020 will include built-in XML sitemaps without a plugin required.
This new XML sitemaps feature will help users who don’t have an SEO plugin like All in One SEO.
If you’re already an All in One SEO user, you don’t have to worry. You already have sitemaps plus all the other SEO tools you need to boost your website traffic, and there’s nothing you need to do.
In this guide, we’ll explain what this update means, what’s the difference between WordPress 5.5 XML sitemaps and All in One SEO, and answer your most common questions about this new update.
Let’s get started with a simple definition…
What Is an XML Sitemap and Why Do You Need It?
An XML sitemap is a simple list of all the content on your website. The sitemap makes it easy for search engine bots to crawl and index your website.
XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. It’s a markup language similar to HTML, but its main purpose is to organize data.
Your XML sitemap file is hidden from your human visitors, but search engines like Google can see it. The sitemap helps search engine bots to easily see all the content on your site in one place.
Why do you need a sitemap?
Without one, the only way for those bots to find all your content is by following links on your site. So, if you have any pages on your site that aren’t linked to often, or it takes a lot of links to reach a certain page, there’s a chance that Google’s bots won’t find those pages and they’ll never end up in search results.
Another reason you’d want a sitemap is so you can tell Google which pages you DON’T want it to list in search results. Removing some pages from search results, like thank you pages or media attachment pages, can help you get more traffic from Google because the search engines will only focus on your highest quality content.
That’s why All in One SEO makes it easy to create a custom XML sitemap in WordPress and submit it to Google.
Let’s take a quick look at this feature and how it works.
Why Use All in One SEO Sitemaps?
All in One SEO’s XML sitemaps are easy to use, and they also offer all the features you need to optimize your site for maximum traffic.
You can automatically generate a custom sitemap and submit it to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and other search engines. All in One SEO will also automatically notify each one whenever you publish, update, or delete content on your site.
With All in One SEO, you can make sure that Google knows which pages are the most important on your site, and only ranks your high-quality content.
You get to choose to include or exclude:
- images and galleries
- password-protected posts
- custom post types
- media attachment pages
- archive pages for tags, categories, authors
- and more
Your sitemaps will always be dynamically generated. That means that your sitemap is always up to date whenever it’s visited.
How does that compare with the new default sitemaps?
Let’s take a look…
All in One SEO and WordPress 5.5 XML Sitemaps
In the update scheduled for August 11, 2020, WordPress will include basic XML sitemaps without a plugin.
By default, the sitemap will include all your posts, post types, categories, tags, and archive pages.
There’s no way to customize your sitemaps or remove specific pages without knowing PHP code.
For example, you’d have to customize this code to remove certain sitemaps from your site:
The good news is, if you’re using the latest version of All in One SEO, you don’t need to do anything.
As long as you’ve updated to the latest version of All in One SEO, the default WordPress sitemaps will be automatically turned off. Your All in One SEO sitemaps will take priority.
Not using All in One SEO yet?
If you want more control over your sitemaps, All in One SEO is the way to go.
In addition to the custom sitemaps feature, you’ll also get access to other features to skyrocket your search traffic like:
- On Page SEO Optimization: add meta title, description, keywords, and other tags for on-page SEO optimization
- Schema Support: unlock complete support for Google Knowledge Graph and Schema.org snippets
- Image and Video SEO: optimize your images and get 1-click support for video sitemap, so you can rank in Google’s video carousel widget and grow your traffic
- Automatic Search Engine Notification: automatically notify search engines like Google and Bing about changes to your site
- WooCommerce SEO: get advanced eCommerce SEO support for WooCommerce, so you can optimize product pages, product categories, and more
- Social Media Integration: easily control how your content and thumbnails look on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks
Still have questions? Keep reading…
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the XML sitemap in WordPress 5.5 do?
WordPress 5.5 will introduce built-in XML sitemaps. The sitemaps will automatically include your homepage, all public posts, categories and tags, and author archives. This includes anything you might have no-indexed, which can cause errors on your site.
WordPress 5.5 XML sitemaps are very basic and don’t include video sitemaps or Google News sitemaps, so your site won’t show up in video carousels or Google News.
There’s no way to customize the sitemaps without knowing PHP code.
Do I still need All in One SEO now that WordPress has its own sitemap?
Yes, All in One SEO integrates seamlessly with WordPress 5.5 and allows you to customize your XML sitemaps so you can boost your traffic and prevent errors in Google Search Console.
It gives you all the features you need to optimize your site for maximum search traffic, including on-page optimizations, SEO titles and meta descriptions, image SEO, video sitemaps, Google News sitemaps, local SEO, WooCommerce SEO, and much more.
Do I need to disable my WordPress XML sitemap?
No, All in One SEO will automatically disable it for you, to prevent the bots from getting confused or finding the wrong one.
There’s no need to take any action if you’re already updated. If you’re using an earlier version than 3.6.2, please make sure to update to the latest version of All in One SEO.
Have more questions? Please get in touch, we’re happy to help.
Thank you for all your support in making All in One SEO the best SEO plugin for WordPress!
Not using it yet? What are you waiting for?