XML sitemaps will be automatically added when WordPress 5.5 is released
I’ve been using WordPress for over 10 years now and they continue to add features that make the platform better all the time. A big one that is set to be released with version 5.5 is the addition of a built in XML sitemap and it’s come this fall.
Sitemaps are a key part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because they enable your website to be found by search engines like Google and Bing. XML sitemaps help your website by creating a list of the files like blog posts, pages, photos, etc by indexing those specific files so people can find your website while using Google and Bing. It essentially makes it easier for the search engine’s bots to find your content.
Up until now anyone using WordPress would have to implement a third-party plugin to add a sitemap, which hasn’t been a big deal since the Jetpack plugin, which is made by WordPress, enables you to create a sitemap.
Now, I do need to be clear and tell you that your website won’t rank high on Google and/or Bing because of an XML Sitemap, but it is a key step in people finding your content online.
WordPress went into some detail on how the feature will work during their announcement.
“With version 5.5., WordPress will expose a sitemap index at /wp-sitemap.xml. This is the main XML file that contains the listing of all the sitemap pages exposed by a WordPress site,” WordPress said in a statement.
“The robots.txt file exposed by WordPress will reference the sitemap index so that it can be easily discovered by search engines.”
In their announcement, WordPress also posted some PHP code for developers on how they can remove certain sitemaps and add custom ones.
What’s really nice is that when creating a website, adding a plugin for an XML sitemap will be one less thing that developers have to add.