XML Sitemaps Module

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What is a Sitemap?

Want to understand and learn more about XML Sitemaps, visit the official documentation at Sitemaps.org.

NOTE: XML Sitemaps in All in One SEO Pack only work with pretty permalinks.  They do not work with the Plain permalink setting.

XML Sitemaps box in All in One SEO Pack

XML Sitemaps box in All in One SEO Pack

Create RSS Sitemap

This option will generate a separate RSS sitemap which can be submitted to Google, Bing and any other search engines that support this type of sitemap.  The RSS sitemap contains an RSS feed of the latest updates to your site content.  It is not a full sitemap of all your content.  You can find more information about RSS sitemaps on Google’s Blog here.

Schedule Updates

Select the schedule you’d like to ping Google and Bing about your sitemap.  Google recommends setting this to match the frequency by which you add or update content on your site.

NOTE: All in One SEO Pack automatically notifies Google and Bing whenever you publish, update or delete content on your site.

Enable Sitemap Indexes

We strongly recommend activating the Enable Sitemap Indexes option, especially if you have a large site or a site with lots of images. This will reduce the amount of memory required to create your sitemap and speed up dynamic sitemap generation when your sitemap is requested by a search engine.

XML Sitemap Indexes options

Maximum Posts Per Sitemap Page

All in One SEO Pack lets you set the maximum number of URLs per sitemap.  This option will show after you check the Enable Sitemap Indexes box. By default it is set to 1000 URLs per sitemap.

We strongly recommend setting this to no more that 1000 in order to reduce the amount of memory used to generate the sitemap and to avoid any timeout problems when search engines try to crawl your sitemap.

NOTE: Users can lower this number if they are experiencing memory issues, usually indicated by a blank screen when viewing the sitemap. This setting should never be set to more than 50,000 URLs per sitemap.

Post Types and Taxonomies

The Post Types and Taxonomies sections allow you control over which content is included in your Sitemap.  All boxes will be checked by default.  If you are using Sitemap Indexes a file will be created for each Post Type and Taxonomy that is checked.  If you aren’t using a certain Post Type or Taxonomy, that file will by empty in your Sitemap so it is important to only check the Post Types and Taxonomies that exist on your site when using Sitemap Indexes.

Include Date Archive Pages/Include Author Pages

Include Date Archive Pages and Include Author Pages are both left unchecked in an effort to avoid duplicate content warnings from Google.  This is mainly a legacy setting as Google is now smart enough to understand how WordPress works and that content is archived and included on author pages.  It is up to you whether to check this or not, if you do check it and receive a duplicate content warning then you can simply change the setting and notify Google of the changes.

Remember: Just because you don’t include the content in your Sitemap does not mean Google will find it and index it.  If you link to content on your site then search engines will crawl it by following those links, so use All in One SEO Pack to control what content is indexed by using the NOINDEX Settings.

Exclude Images

By default, All in One SEO Pack includes images in the XML Sitemap to comply with search engines such as Google that want images submitted to them for indexing in Google Images.

Some users may not wish to include images. For instance, Yandex does not support images inside a sitemap. Enable this option if you want to exclude images from your XML Sitemap. Alternatively, you can use our API filter hook to exclude images from All in One SEO Pack.

NOTE: This feature was added in version 2.4 of the free plugin and version 2.5 of All in One SEO Pack Pro.

Dynamically Generate Sitemap

If you activate this setting your Sitemap will be generated dynamically each time a search robot requests it rather than creating a static file which can be deleted, become stale, corrupt or be overwritten.  The Sitemap that All in One SEO Pack will generate is always up-to-date with the most current version of your site, you don’t need to manually update your Sitemap if you have this setting checked.

Additional Pages

XML Sitemap Additional Pages

You can use this section to add any URLs to your Sitemap which aren’t a part of your WordPress installation.  For example, if you have a contact form that you would like to be included on your Sitemap you can enter the information manually.

Once you click Add URL it will show both in the Additional Pages box and in your Sitemap.

NOTE: The Page URL field will only accept an absolute URL with protocol, i.e. http://domain.com/contact/

Relative URLs, such as /contact/ are not permitted.

Excluded Items

Excluded Items from the XML Sitemap in All in One SEO Pack

Excluded Items

The Excluded Terms field allows you to exclude any category, tag or custom taxonomy from the XML sitemap. Start typing the name of a category, tag or taxonomy term in the field and a drop down will populate with the matching terms for you to select from.

NOTE: This will also exclude any content belonging to the specified term.  For example, if you exclude the Uncategorized category then all posts in that category will also be excluded from the sitemap.

The Excluded Pages field allows you to exclude any page, post or custom post type from the XML sitemap.  To exclude a page, post or custom post type just enter the slug or ID of each item separated by a comma.  For example, “store, cart, checkout” would exclude these three pages from your Sitemap.

Remember: Just because you don’t include the content in your Sitemap does not mean search engines will find it and index it.  If you link to content on your site then search engines will crawl it by following those links, so use All in One SEO Pack to control what content is not indexed by using the NOINDEX Settings.

Priorities and Frequencies

If you click the ‘view your sitemap’ link at the top of the XML Sitemaps page in All in One SEO Pack you can see the Priority and Change Frequency columns on your Sitemap along with the current value for each URL.  Values for both of these settings are generated based on the last modified date of the URL.  So, something that changed yesterday would have a Frequency value of daily and the Priority value would most likely be around .9 (90%) depending on the rest of your site.  The default settings for these in All in One SEO Pack are all Do Not Override, and if you have the Dynamically Generate Sitemap setting checked (which it is by default) then the Priorities and Frequencies will update as the Sitemap changes.

Priorities

Priorities

The Priority is the priority of the URL relative to the other URLs on your site.  The homepage has top priority for search robots and is therefore set to 100%.  The percentage value you give for each URL tells crawlers how important you feel a certain URL is.  This setting is only used within your site so giving all of your URLs a high priority won’t affect how your site ranks against other sites, it only tells crawlers how URLs relate on your own site.

Frequencies

Frequencies

The Frequency is how frequently a page is likely to change.  This provides guidance to search robots on how often they should recrawl a URL.  This does not control how often search robots crawl your site, you cannot control this, search engines determine when they will crawl your site.   These settings (hourly, daily, etc) are just suggestions to search robots. They will take note of the setting and may follow it, but they can crawl at whatever frequency they want.

Controlling Priorities and Frequencies for Individual Post Types and Taxonomies

You can control both the Priorities and Frequencies for each Post Type and each Taxonomy on your site.  To do this select the “Select Individual” choice from the Posts and/or Taxonomies dropdown under Priorities and Frequencies. Selecting this option will display a dropdown box for each Post Type and for each Taxonomy.  You can then set the priority of frequency for each Post Type or Taxonomy.

 

Setting Priority / Frequency for Individual Post Types

Setting Priority / Frequency for Individual Post Types

Setting Priority / Frequency for Individual Taxonomies

Setting Priority / Frequency for Individual Taxonomies

If you’d like to learn more about the way search engines treat the Priority and Frequency settings of a Sitemap, or want to learn more about XML Sitemaps please refer to the official documentation on the protocol at Sitemaps.org.

Useful Links

  1. Build and submit a sitemap (Google documentation)
  2. Best practices for XML and RSS sitemaps (Google blog)
  3. Sitemap protocol specification
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