When you create a website, you are probably trying to get it to rank in Google and other search engines so that you can drive customers to your website!

Submitting your sitemap to Google is a necessity when you are trying to get your website to rank in different search engines.  Today, we are going to go over what a sitemap is, the difference between an XML sitemap and an HTML sitemap, exactly how to submit your sitemap to Google through Google Search Console, which is also known as Google Webmaster Tools, and more.

What is a Sitemap?

To put it simply, a sitemap is a list of all of the pages, posts, videos, images, and other documents on your website. Google can then read the sitemap and rank you based on the information found in it.  They can see who published it, when it was published, what language it is written in, and more.   

Sitemaps can be created in many different forms including a visual sitemap, an XML sitemap, and HTML sitemap, and more.  

  • Visual Sitemap: A visual sitemap looking like an organization chart that starts at the top and breaks the structure of your website down from there.  
  • XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap is read by search engines to understand the content on your website that is not a page or post.  Basically, it reads the pictures, videos, and other files. 
  • HTML Sitemap: An HTML sitemap is usually used by humans to understand your website.  

You will really just need to focus on the XML sitemap. 

XML Sitemap vs HTML Sitemap

The main difference between an XML sitemap and HTML sitemap is that the XML sitemap is mainly used by search engines to understand your website, while an HTML sitemap is used by the users.  

Step-By-Step Guide To Submitting Your Sitemap in Google Search Console

Today, we are going to go over a step-by-step guide to submitting your sitemap and how to use Google Search Console.

Step 1: Generate A Sitemap

If you are using WordPress, you can easily generate a sitemap using a plugin such as Yoast or Rank Math. You can do this by logging into WordPress and clicking plugins.  Click “Add New” and search for either of these plugins.  Then install and activate the plugin.  Go through their step-by-step guide to setting up your account.  Please note that we prefer Rank Math for more advanced webmasters and Yoast for beginners. 

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Step 2: Head To Google Search Console

The next step to submitting your sitemap is going to https://search.google.com/search-console/ and clicking add property. 

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Step 3: Click URL Prefix

We suggest adding your website using the URL prefix option.  After you put your URL into the box, click submit.  You will see a box like the one below.  

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Step 4: Click HTML Tag

Next, you will need to click “Click HTML Tag” and copy the content in the white box. 

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Step 5: Head Back To WordPress

The next thing that you will need to do is go back to your WordPress website and click appearance.  Then click theme editor. 

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Step 6: Click on Header.php

Almost all themes will give you the option to edit the theme header by clicking header.php on the sidebar. 

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Step 7: Put The Code That You Copied In Here

The next step is that you have to put the code that you copied from Google Search Console into the <head> section.  You can click ctrl + F and search for <head> to find this section.  You can then hit save at the bottom of the screen.  

Step 8: Go Back to Google Search Console

Go back to Google Search Console and wait 3-5 minutes.  Once the time is up, click on the “verify” button under “HTML Tag”.  


Step 9: Click Sitemaps 

Once you have verified your website in Google Search Console, click on sitemaps. 

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Step 10: Type Sitemap.xml

To submit your sitemap to Google, you will have to click the space where it says “Enter Sitemap URL”.  Type in “sitemap.xml”.  Google will then start to crawl your website! 

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Submitting an XML sitemap to Google is crucial if you want to rank your website.  By setting up Google Search Console, you will be able to increase your rankings and see any issues that Google thinks are on your website.  

Contact The MarketingU to learn how we can help you submit your sitemap and start to rank in Google and other search engines!

Matt Reif

Matt Reif is a digital marketing expert that specializes in search engine optimization.He graduated from Millersville University in 2018 and has been working in the digital marketing space ever since. He went from working for a large multinational company, to working for a small but industry leading marketing agency where he did search engine optimization for car dealerships.