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Search engines like Google “crawl” the internet to find websites. It is possible Google will eventually find your site if you have a bunch of different websites linking to it. But don’t leave it up to others to tell Google you exist. Once your website is built, you’ll want to index your sitemap.

This is really important to do. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your website and I assume you want people to find it – so don’t skip this step!

What is a sitemap?

Think of a it as a roadmap of your website that guides Google to all your important pages.

Google’s indexing system, also known as ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’, scans your sitemap, making your website visible to the search engine.

How to index:

Sounds intimidating but it’s really pretty simple.

If you’re using WordPress, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin and it’ll create a sitemap for you for free. Other site builders likely have a sitemap as well or some way to get one. I’m not well versed in other content management software but their support docs should be able to help you.

Then head over to Google Search Console and sign up.

It’s going to ask for verification. They’ll give you a code you can plug into Yoast here: Yoast SEO > Settings > Site connections > plug in the code that Google Search Console gave you.

Yoast-verify-site screenshot

Once you’re all set, follow these steps:

  1. Select your website: On the Search Console dashboard, choose the website you want to index.
  2. Go to ‘Sitemaps’: You’ll find this under the ‘Index’ section.
  3. Enter your sitemap URL: Typically, it’s your website URL followed by /sitemap.xml. For instance, if your website is www.example.com, your sitemap URL would be www.example.com/sitemap.xml.
  4. Click ‘Submit’: And voila! You’ve just told Google about your website.

Semrush wrote a very helpful and detailed article on how to do it (with screenshots and troubleshooting): https://www.semrush.com/blog/submit-sitemap-to-google/

It’s pretty much a “set it and forget it” process. Although, if you made major changes to your site or added new pages, you can always submit an updated sitemap. And it’s best practice to check it every now and then just to make sure there are no errors.

As always, if you need help setting this up, just ask 🙂

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