In our latest tech training we show you how to add a new sitemap to Google Search Console. We also show you a brand new feature on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) which is in beta testing at January 2022.
You can watch the video, or if you prefer to read and skip to the content, you can refer the transcription below the video.
Why do you need to update your sitemap on Google?
As long as your new pages and posts are correctly published, you will get indexed by Google … eventually. How quickly often depends on how often you update your website, and how often Google crawls your website to create a cache of information. You didn’t really think Google search goes out to all websites in the world in less than a second did you?
If you want your shiny new content to be indexed as quickly as possible, especially when you’ve made lots of changes, manually upload a new sitemap to Google Search Console. You will need to have Google Search Console connected to your website (usually after connecting Google Analytics), and you will need your sitemap URL (which we explain how to access).
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Transcript – How to add a new XML sitemap to Google Search Console
Hi, this is another tech training tip from FAQ Business Training. When you update your website, your WordPress website, you may be creating a lot of new pages or a lot of new content, and you might want to let Google knows that that’s there.
00:16 Caching date/last Google crawl of your website
Now you may or may not be aware, but when you type into Google search. In case you don’t know, there is a way to find about cache [date].
00:26 New Google search feature – website information
There used to be a little triangle on here, but this is actually just changed. What they’ve changed it to now, is that you have a whole panel here about the information about the website.
As you can see, this is beta. So this is brand new. It’s been tested. So it tells you information about site, whether it’s secure, when it was actually first indexed, which was way back in 2017.
And you can see this little button here saying cached. And when they came up, it quickly showed you some information about the caching. Unfortunately, it was a little too quick for us to see.
01:00 Last cache date
My site’s too fast. 😉 Basically at the top of the page it tells you what date it was last searched [by Google]. Now if you’re not updating your website regularly, you’ll find that that last cache date is going to be weeks ago or a month ago or something. Whereas if you go to something like NAB, National Australia Bank, their site will be cached daily, in fact, intra-daily.
01:23 Update website irregularly, update your sitemap manually
So with your website, if you update it suddenly out of the blue and you haven’t updated it for months, you’ll find that Google doesn’t pick it up straight away. So obviously we want Google to pick up those pages as soon as it can.
01:35 Google Search Console
The way that we do that is by using Google Search Console. So most of you will be aware of Google Analytics, and you will have that connected to your site to give you information about where people come from, where they move around your site.
01:50 Don’t have Google Search Console?
If you do not already have Google Search Console, please connect that as well. It’s relatively straightforward to do. Just follow the prompts for your website type and connecting to Google Search Console. So mine’s already connected obviously here.
It tells us information about page errors, about usability, how many people are going to the site. And it also tells us things like page experience and it tells us various things, including sitemaps.
02:18 Google Search Console is where we update our sitemap for Google
So if I go over to sitemaps, I last manually submitted a sitemap to Google on the 9 November . So if I wanted to update that today, we can see clearly I just need to go add a new sitemap.
02:32 What is my XML sitemap URL?
But what’s my sitemap URL. Well, this is where we get it from. So we go over here to our WordPress website. And in my case I have the Yoast SEO plugin.
02:43 Use a WordPress SEO plugin
You may be using Yoast, RankMath anything like that. So we scroll down here and we see the Yoast SEO plugin. I click on that. And then I can go to the features tab. If I can scroll down, we can see that I’ve got XML sitemaps already turned on. So all I need to do is find that URL.
03:05 Using Yoast to get the XML sitemap URL
If I click on the question mark, then you will see that it comes up with enable the XML sitemaps by on/off down here, the toggle. And then I can click here see the XML sitemap. Oh voila. Here we are. And you’ll see that there is a link at the top here: faqbusinesstraining.com.au/sitemap_index.xml.
03:28 Can see when I last made updates
And you’ll see there it will see when I last updated things. So it will see the 15th December, 6th January. So there’s been different things updated in this time. So I did a bunch of event updating, so I want to make sure that Google has taken that through.
03:42 Copy the FULL SITE URL
So I’m just going to grab this [URL] here and copy it. Go back to sitemaps and I’m going to paste it. Now please make sure you do the one at the top of the page, not one of these ones down here. Because as you see, for instance, this is just events. This is just categories. We don’t want those.
We want the one at the top, the whole entire site. So we go to site maps and all we simply do is paste it in and go submit. You’ll see it says submitting sitemap and they say they got it successfully.
04:11 What happens next? Google will validate the sitemap
So what will happen? It will take a few days* or whatever to update. But that’s great because now that will mean if I go and do site:FAQbusinesstraining.com.au. So obviously just replace it with your web address.
*usually it’s much quicker than that
04:27 Site:domain let’s us see what Google sees
No https, no //, no www. Just put that in. It will now tell you these are all the things that Google’s indexing. So it’s saying that it’s about 183 results. And if we look at the sitemap information on Google Search Console, it said that there were 185 discovered URLs.
04:47 Told Google not to index some pages
Now there’s a reason why there’s a few missing. And that’s because I’ve specifically said to Google, I don’t want you to index some of the pages, and that’s why there’s a few missing. So that is all we have to do. So that is now a new sitemap up on Google, and that information is out to the world [once process completed]. Now Google will be able to share anything that appeared on those pages.
Note Google would not show the newly uploaded pages immediately. They would not show till validated. Mine showed because Google had last crawled my site the day before and I hadn’t made any changes today.
So for instance, my event information can now appear. Whereas it wouldn’t have done before, because it potentially wasn’t actually visible to Google, or therefore to the world.
05:20 I hope that was useful
So I hope that was useful updating your sitemap for your website using Yoast and Google Search Console.
But wait there’s more…
05:30 If not using a SEO plugin or have a non-WordPress site?
If you’re not using a plugin like Yoast or you’re using some other website and you don’t have a sitemap generator within the website, this is a way to do it.
05:40 Use xml-sitemaps.com
Enter your URL here. Now, in this case, I’m not actually going to go through with this because I already have a sitemap, but I can just put my URL in here, hit start, and it will create me that same sitemap with the XML ending on it.
05:55 Copy the URL to Google Search Console as before
I then simply copy that sitemap information and put it through to Google Search Console.