How to Create XML Sitemap with Yoast SEO and Submit It to Google Search Console

Photo of author

By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Yoast SEO’s Popularity: A widely-used WordPress plugin, Yoast SEO is ideal for optimizing websites for search engines, available in both free and premium versions.
Sitemap Significance: Sitemaps are vital for efficient search engine crawling and indexing, ensuring all pages are found and updated content is quickly re-indexed.
Generating Sitemaps with Yoast SEO: Easily create an XML sitemap using Yoast SEO by installing the plugin, activating the XML Sitemaps feature, and accessing the generated sitemap.
Manual Sitemap Submission: Sitemaps created with Yoast SEO must be manually added to Google Search Console for search engines to recognize them.
Automated Updates and Monitoring: Yoast SEO automatically informs search engines about new or updated pages, but regular monitoring of indexing status in Google Search Console is advised.
Addressing Indexing Issues: If issues with indexing arise, consider factors like domain age, content quality, site speed, and technical problems. Manual indexing requests can help, but resolving underlying issues is crucial for effective indexing.

What is Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO stands as one of the most popular WordPress plugins, widely used for good reason.

It boasts over 5 million active installations, catering to users ranging from hobbyist bloggers to SEO professionals.

This plugin aids in optimizing websites, making them more search engine-friendly.

A key draw of Yoast SEO is its free version, which is more than sufficient for newcomers to WordPress.

Though there is a paid version with additional features, the free variant is a great starting point.

To add Yoast SEO to your WordPress site, navigate to Plugins > Add New on your dashboard, search for “Yoast SEO,” then click Install Now and Activate.

In this article, we’ll focus on how Yoast SEO assists in creating an XML sitemap for your website.

What is a Sitemap

A sitemap is a crucial file that guides search engine crawlers upon their arrival at your site.

It enables more efficient crawling and thorough indexing of your website.

Without a sitemap, there’s a risk that some pages might not be indexed, potentially leading to lost traffic.

Sitemaps also facilitate quicker re-indexing of updated pages.

They offer advanced features for detailing video and image content, like running time, category, subject matter, type, or license.

Providing such comprehensive information to search engines enhances the understanding and visibility of your content.

Creating a Sitemap in Yoast SEO

There are many sitemap generator tools out there.

But since having Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress website anyway, why not install it and use it to generate an XML sitemap for you?

Follow these easy steps to install Yoast SEO and generate a sitemap with it:

Step 1) Go to your WordPress dashboard

Step 2) Hover over “Plugins” in the menu and click on “Add New”

Step 3) Enter “Yoast SEO” into the search box and press Enter

Step 4) Click on the Install Now button to install Yoast SEO

Step 5) After the installation is done, click on the Activate button that will appear in the same spot where Install Now was

You’re done installing and activating Yoast SEO.

Yoast SEO should automatically create a sitemap for your website, but we’re going to confirm this in the next steps.

Yoast SEO button should have appeared on your dashboard menu.

If it hasn’t, try refreshing the dashboard.

Step 6) Click on the SEO button in your WordPress dashboard menu.

Step 7) Click on the General button that appears underneath.

Step 8) Click on the Features tab.

Step 9) Make sure that the “XML Sitemaps” is toggled “On” – if it isn’t, toggle it On and click on the Save Changes button bellow

Step 10) Click on the little question mark icon next to XML sitemap and a line of text with two links will appear underneath

Step 11) Click on the “See the XML sitemap” link

Your XML Sitemap should be successfully generated and it should look something like this:

Now that Yoast SEO has generated an XML sitemap for you, let’s continue with the article.

Is Your New Sitemap Automatically Submitted to Google?

Yoast SEO does not submit the sitemap to Google automatically.

You have to do this manually.

It’s very simple and it only takes a few steps.

Adding XML Sitemap to Google Search Console

Step 1) Go to Google Search Console and sign in

Step 2) Add your website to the tool by clicking on the Add Property button

Step 3) Click on the Sitemaps button in the menu on the left side of the screen

Note #1: if you closed the sitemap window in your browser, perform Step 11) from the “How do you create a sitemap in Yoast SEO” and open your sitemap again.

Copy the sitemap URL.

Important: just to be sure, do not copy the URL from this screenshot because this is the sitemap URL of my website. You need the sitemap URL of ‘your’ website.

Note #2: If there are any invalid or outdated sitemaps connected to your Google Search Console, you need to remove them

Step 4) Submit the sitemap to the Google Search Console by pasting the URL into the “Add a new sitemap” field

Note: When prompted to enter the Site property URL, enter only the missing part of the URL. And when prompted to enter the Domain property sitemap, enter the entire URL.

And that’s it.

You now have a working sitemap for your website that you added to the Google Search Console.

Search engine crawlers now have a starting point of reference when indexing your website either for the first time or when you make updates.

Do You Have to Keep Resubmitting Sitemap as You Publish More Content?

The Yoast SEO plugin is incredibly useful in this regard.

It automatically alerts Google and Bing’s crawlers to index new or modified pages, allowing you to “set and forget” your sitemap.

However, keeping track of changes in your Google Search Console are important.

The Coverage section on the Overview page shows the number of indexed pages.

If this count increases with your content updates, all’s well.

If Google refuses to index your content, this might be because:

  • Your domain is fresh and requires a stronger backlink profile
  • Your content needs improving
  • Your site is too slow
  • Your site is experiencing other technical issues

You can try manually request indexing in your Google Search Console or hire third party indexing services that use Google API to index pages.

Neither of those are magical solutions because Google will eventually drop your content from its index if there are underlying issues that caused it to ignore your content in the first place.