Have you been searching for answers to the question ‘How Often Should You Submit Your Sitemap to Google?’ Succeeding on the web without Google is a pipe dream, especially if you don’t know how to submit sitemap on Google.
This is because Google processes more than 3.5 billion online searches daily. People from all walks of life rely heavily on it to generate everything they desire from movie schedules to divine explanations about rocket science.
Therefore, Google must be aware that your website exists before it makes any attempt at ranking it. If you wait just long enough, Google will stumble on your site. But then, why should you wait after going through the trouble of setting up your website?
You can speed up the process of making Google find your website by submitting what is known as a sitemap to Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools).
And how exactly can you do that, you ask? Before you learn how to submit sitemap on Google, let’s start at the basics. You will also have answers to a bugging question: ‘how often should you submit your sitemap to Google?’
Let’s dive in right away!
What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap refers to a straightforward guide or directory that holds vital information along with several other details on the webpages of a website. This, of course, is in addition to other content on these pages.
Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc. crawl sitemaps to find and readily identify every information applicable to a particular search query that has been performed by a user.
The pages in this directory have been listed in a hierarchical and logical order. This means that the most relevant of these pages are positioned right at the top. And the least relevant pages are placed much closer to the lower end of the list.
Sitemaps are vital for every website, though it takes time to create one from scratch. However, this should be considered a worthy investment. It is not only important to establish your web presence via a website. But it also makes sense for you to spend enough time to optimize that site as best as you can.
If web spiders are unable to crawl your website, it will never get indexed. And the content of that site will never get ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs). And if it is not ranked within a SERP, no visitor will even visit that website. You will end up with a rich piece of online real estate and no traffic, no advertising, and no revenue in the long run.
The Two Main Types of Sitemaps
There are essentially two main types of sitemaps commonly used today: XML and HTML sitemaps.
1. XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps are XML files – e.g. sitemap.xml – that are located within the website root folder. This sitemap is created only in the XML format and allows you to specify links, frequency, and scanning priority.
These vital tools help search bots to understand the entire logic of your site. It also helps them find new content on your website, how often the content on those webpages is updated, and the essential importance of each page in relation to one another. XML sitemaps generally have unique structures, but most importantly, they are not usually seen by the end-user.
Sitemaps also boost the navigation capabilities of users on a website while ensuring the site remains user-friendly. The website’s theme becomes much more cohesive, thereby enabling visitors to view several sections of the site as well as the links on a single page.
2. HTML Sitemap
An HTML sitemap is a web page that contains href tags that link to other pages. They are handy for search engines and users who seek something online. Crawlers generally discover your site by clicking one link after the other until there are no more links to find.
HTML sitemaps are structured in such a way that it helps users to find whatever it is they are searching for on the World Wide Web. They don’t contain all the pages of a website. And this makes it relatively easy for individuals and search engines to find the specific information they are looking for from a particular website.
When a webmaster creates a sitemap, it is crucial to know that you can’t submit some formats to Google’s Webmaster tools. Only a handful of supported formats can be submitted to Google.
Why Do You Need a Sitemap?
According to Google, you can enjoy immense benefits when you add a sitemap to your site. And you will never get penalized for doing so. Here are some of the benefits of having a sitemap (XML sitemap) on your site:
- If your website has a deep directory structure, sitemaps act like guides for search engines to not miss any valuable content.
- XML sitemaps assist search engines in understanding what webmasters like you would like to index on your site. It also prioritizes the entire crawling process by indicating the less and most important pages. This occurs in crawling order which is vitally crucial for bulky sites.
- A sitemap can help your site to recover if Google updates suddenly hit its webpages. This is much more useful for large sites.
- Sitemaps can help webmasters to control the indexing of specific pages in Google Search Console.
- You can add a sitemap to a brand new website as it is an excellent way to inform search robots about it and then index the site accordingly.
- XML sitemaps serve as legal helpers in confirming your content’s rights since it mentions the update time and page publication.
So, are sitemaps vital for SEO? From the explanation made above, you already know that sitemaps are incredibly crucial for SEO.
Other types of sitemaps include:
- Video Sitemap: This is generally used to help Google know and understand your web page’s video content. If you have a few pages with videos, just add them to the normal XML sitemap (discussed below). But if an entire section of your site is full of videos, you should split them into separate sitemaps.
- Normal XML Sitemap: This is the regular and most common type of sitemap today. It is commonly found in XML format which links to different pages on your site. You can easily find them on the relative path/sitemap.xml.
- Image Sitemap: This helps Google to discover all the images you host on your website. You can usually add them to standard XML sitemaps. But if you will be hosting a lot of images, it makes more sense to create a separate XML file just for images.
- News Sitemap: This sitemap helps Google unearth content on sites expressly approved for Google News. Bear in mind that Google has a trusted News section. And a dedicated sitemap for it can come in very handy when quick indexation is a vital requirement.
How Do I Optimize My Sitemaps for SEO?
It is assumed that you already have a sitemap as creating one from scratch is beyond this guide’s scope. However, it is also essential that you make your sitemap highly beneficial for SEO.
Although Google has stressed the simple fact that a sitemap will not get your website in trouble, the truth is that if you do it the wrong way, it can. For instance, your sitemap may highlight pages with duplicate content. And Google hates those types of pages which could cause some unsavory issues for you.
An excellent way of checking your sitemap for errors is via Google Search Console. But before then, make sure you go through your sitemap with an adequate set of proven-to-work SEO tools for impeccable performance.
The SEO tools will crawl the sitemap – just like Google would – and highly any discrepancy they encounter between the found pages and those listed in the sitemap.
If you have any thin or duplicate content issues on your site, consider fixing them as soon as possible. Including such pages in the sitemap will put you in a spot of trouble. Therefore, exclude these pages from your sitemap.
Add content to any thin pages you have and consider canonicalizing the duplicates. Also, it is important to note that most sitemaps are generally structured chronologically or alphabetically. But of course, you can structure it anyhow you want. So, start by adding the essential webpages first.
This is because search engines usually crawl your site, much like a human does. They go from one link to another on your site until they discover all your pages.
As soon as you upload the sitemap to Google, it will start having a profound impact on your website. And this could be positive or even negative.
If you find that your site does not get crawled as correctly as you expect it to, a sitemap can be of immense assistance. Of course, this is after every other issue such as noindex tags, etc. has been excluded.
The sitemaps you upload will inform Google to crawl your website. However, it is still up to Google to crawl your site or not.
How Often Should You Submit Your Sitemap to Google?
But a question keeps coming up repeatedly, ‘How often should you submit your sitemap to Google?’ Many webmasters think this action could hurt your SEO efforts or make Google and other search engines to penalize you.
So, how often should you submit your sitemap to Google? The truth is that as long as you have access to the Google Search Console property, it is highly recommended that you inform Google that you have readily updated the sitemap file.
There is no harm in updating your sitemaps as often as you can. Of course, updating it several times within a day could have severe consequences. But you can update your sitemaps at least once or twice a day, which is completely fine with Google.
If you have a static website that does not change too often, there may be no reason for you to update your sitemap for several months.
However, suppose your website includes blog posts, products, or promotions that are continually changing and getting added from time to time. In that case, you should become much more diligent in updating your sitemap.
You can do this manually if you do not make regular or consistent changes to your site, and then resubmit to webmaster consoles.
If you make routine changes, it is easier to get your developer to automate updates whenever you add a new page.
How to Submit Sitemap on Google?
Have you been wondering how to submit sitemap on Google? Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Fire up your favorite browser and navigate to the Google Search Console homepage.
Step 2: Click ‘Sitemaps’ from the menu on the left-hand side of the webpage.
Step 3: Enter the following characters in the text field next to your domain: ‘sitemap.xml.’ That is ‘https://www.yourwebsitedomain.com/sitemap.xml.’
Step 4: Click the ‘Submit’ button.
So, how often should you submit your sitemap to Google? Well, it is generally recommended by professionals that you should submit a sitemap each time you update or publish your website. This ensures the search engines have the latest and most up-to-date version of your site to serve better those who may be carrying out search queries for it.
A sitemap must never be taken for granted as it is highly crucial to SEO practices. It is powerful enough to bring in hordes of targeted traffic – and revenue – to your website.
Moreover, sitemaps are vitally important to allow search engines to crawl and then index the site. This ensures the content on the webpages will get ranked within the SERPs.
Sitemaps assist users in navigating and understanding your site while communicating your relevance to search engines for a particular search term.
So, invest time a lot of time to develop a well-structured and great sitemap. You should have no issues when someone asks you, ‘How to submit sitemap on Google?’
Next, make sure all your content is up to date with the latest information. Make sure you don’t have any duplicate content. When search engines crawl your webpages, they will come across the content and index your pages accordingly.
By now, you should have answers to the questions, ‘How often should you submit your sitemap to Google?’ and ‘How to submit sitemap on Google?’