Best WordPress Sitemap Plugins
See a list of the best WordPress sitemap plugins to improve SEO & make search engines find your content, and gain more visits to your site
Optimizing your organic search traffic is a critical task for any site owner. So anything you can do to make it easier for search engines to find your content should be high on your priority list. See WordPress Sitemap Plugins help do it for you.
Maintaining well-organized sitemaps is one of the simplest ways of ensuring your content. Both new and old can be easily found. Google actively encourages sitemap submission. A range of online tools means it’s never been easier to set your sitemaps up quickly without needing too much technical knowledge.
This article will look at handling sitemap generation in WordPress. So, take you through our picks for the seven best sitemap plugins. We’ve broken these into three distinct categories to make things a little simpler.
Before we hit the list, let’s get some basics out of the way.
An Introduction to Sitemaps
If you’re coming to the subject of sitemaps for the first time, their value might not be immediately apparent. Initially introduced in 2005 by Google – and supported by Microsoft and Yahoo shortly after that – sitemaps play a massive role in helping search engines crawl a website in its entirety and thus index the content better.
The basic idea is simple. Ideally, a website’s sitemap should contain all your site’s page URLs and associated data. Such as the date content was last modified and how frequently the content changes. Whether a particular URL should be prioritized over other content. Moreover, Sitemaps can be created for each type of content available on a site. Such as blog posts, images, videos, and so on.
Google is powerful enough these days to get to the majority of your content eventually on its own but maintaining well-organized sitemaps makes it much easier and quicker for search engines to index all of your content – and notify them when it changes – so it’s a step well worth taking.
The simplest possible sitemap is an XML document listing all the URLs to be crawled. Of course, you could create this by hand, but it’s a job best left to automated tooling. That’s what we’ll be looking at for the remainder of the article about sitemap plugins.
If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into the technicalities behind sitemaps, check out the official Google sitemap pages, our previous article on the importance of sitemaps, or the sitemap protocol documentation itself.
We’ve split our selection of plugins into three broad categories to keep things simple. Let’s start with the sitemap functionality offered by several popular SEO plugins.
SEO WordPress Sitemap Plugins
Given the importance of sitemaps in indexing a site by search engines. It’s no surprise that WordPress’s most popular SEO plugins tend to include the ability to generate sitemaps automatically.
1. Yoast SEO
With over one million active installs and an overall 4.5-star satisfaction rating. Yoast SEO continued to be one of the most popular SEO plugins in the WordPress ecosystem. In addition, part of our best WordPress plugins.
Based on years of in-depth SEO research from Joost de Valk and his team. The Yoast SEO plugin puts you in the driving seat of WordPress SEO. Moreover, it includes some of the most advanced XML sitemap functionality of any WordPress plugin.
Creating XML sitemaps automatically with this plugin couldn’t be easier. It’s a simple matter of checking a box. Additionally, the plugin can notify both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools of sitemap changes. So they are easily found (you’ll need to register with these services to enable this, obviously).
With no extra work on your part, Yoast SEO can also include images from your posts and pages in the sitemap. Helping your visual content to also rank highly in search engines. You also have options for handling categories, tags, and other taxonomies.
If you run a Multisite network, you’ll be happy to know that the Yoast SEO sitemaps feature also works smoothly in this context. You can even copy sitemap settings from one site to another. Or have new sites default to the scenes of a specified location.
Developers of more significant sites can rest easy knowing that their needs will also be covered. Yoast SEO uses the sitemap index feature of the sitemap protocol to create a sitemap for every 1,000 URLs. Thus elegantly sidestepping the maximum sitemap size of 50,000 URLs issue.
Yoast SEO also comes in a premium version which includes handy extensions to consider if your website has additional content types that you want to be indexed. Premium extensions such as News SEO, Local SEO, and Video SEO enable you to create different dedicated sitemaps to help your rich content display more accurately in search engine results.
XML sitemaps often need debugging and tweaking to ensure search engines are crawling the correct results. Recognizing this need, the Yoast SEO plugin comes with XSL stylesheets for XML Sitemaps. To help you quickly manually review for errors and missing data.
All in all, it’s hard to fault Yoast SEO for either its general SEO options or its sitemap features. The only real risk with this plugin is that it may be a little overwhelming for less technical users.
2. All in One SEO Pack
Another popular option for general SEO purposes. The All in One SEO Pack also has over one million installs with a solid 4.4-star satisfaction rating.
Though somewhat more straightforward in its implementation and a little less fully featured, this plugin is a solid competitor to Yoast SEO and stood up well in our recent comparison of the two plugins.
Much like Yoast SEO, an XML sitemap generator is just one of a wide range of features. In addition, all in One SEO Pack brings to the table. As with Yoast’s offering, the creation of the XML sitemap is automatic and invisible to the user. As are the notifications sent to both Google and Bing. However, All in One SEO Pack does include some valuable settings worth mentioning when it comes to sitemap customization.
A series of checkboxes on the main settings page of the All in One SEO plugin enables you to include. Or exclude not just post types and taxonomies but also categories, date archives, and author pages. The plugin also lets you set the priority and update the frequency of posts, taxonomies, and the website’s front page. You can also easily include non-WordPress pages in your sitemap by adding URLs to a list from the back end.
Nowadays, more plugins offer premium versions, and the All in One SEO Pack is no different. Amongst other features, the All in One SEO Pro version supports video XML sitemaps. Enabling your videos to display with thumbnails and a snippet of text content in search results.
The All in One SEO Pack plugin is straightforward and flexible in terms of configuration. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for smaller sites with less technical developers or site owners.
3. Premium SEO Pack
Given the availability and widespread use of the two previous plugins. Free and providing excellent value with their premium versions. It’s not surprising that the number of sales of this following plugin only numbers in the thousands.
Premium SEO Pack is a relatively new entrant to the SEO plugin market but is already maintaining a solid average satisfaction rating of 4.25 stars.
As with our previous selections, Premium SEO Pack offers a wide range of features to help optimize your overall SEO. Which XML Sitemaps are one. The plugin automatically generates sitemaps for posts and pages and handles images, custom post types, and taxonomies. In addition, settings are available to exclude specific content, including options to exclude by category and post type.
Premium SEO also includes modules to handle local content and video sitemaps in its base price. Like Yoast SEO, Premium SEO Pack uses the sitemap index option to generate files for more significant sites. You can also enable XSL stylesheets to make the sitemaps more human-readable.
For the budget-conscious developer or site owner interested in premium features like video sitemaps. It may be worth checking out the Premium SEO Pack.
Dedicated Sitemap Plugins
If you’re currently using one of the SEO plugins described above. You’re most likely already comprehensively covered for your sitemap needs. However, if you still lack automated sitemap functionality. You should consider adding a dedicated sitemap plugin to your site to solve that critical piece of the SEO puzzle.
4. Google Sitemap
The Google Sitemap plugin has been knocking around for nearly five years and is a stable and mature sitemap generation option. The plugin does exactly what its description says and enables you to easily create a sitemap file and add it to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools).
The plugin has been downloaded over a million times. Moreover, it reports over one hundred thousand active installs with an overall satisfaction rating of 4.3 stars.
You can select which post types and taxonomies to include in the sitemap. With the limitations of settings made available to you. Custom post types can be formed via a simple hierarchical checklist for selection under the plugin’s Extra Settings page. Once you authenticate with your Google account. You can select to add the sitemap to Google Search Console or delete it.
As with Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack, a premium version of the plugin is also available. By purchasing the Google Sitemap Pro version, you gain the ability to exclude specific pages and posts from the sitemap file and can specify the frequency of sitemap updates. The pro version also adds Multisite compatibility and provides premium support options.
The Google Sitemap plugin is simple. No-fuss way to add sitemap functionality to your site if that’s all you need.
5. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
With an overall rating of 4.1 stars and over 100,000 active installs, Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps is a popular alternative to the Google Sitemap plugin but includes more advanced functionality.
The basic settings enable you to select which sitemaps you want to generate. Including taxonomies (custom or otherwise), date archives, author archives, and external pages. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps is also Multisite-compatible by default.
The plugin also has built-in functionality for creating sitemaps to submit to Google News. For example, you can include or exclude posts in certain categories in this sitemap. Assign specific categories to predefined genres from Google News guidelines and map categories to Google News’ suggested keywords.
This plugin stands out because of its flexibility in its customization options. Filters can be up to customize the SQL queries present to build the sitemaps, excluding specific posts or terms. Custom XSL stylesheets can also be up to improve the display of sitemaps. Developers can take things further by creating custom modules to define custom sitemaps using a powerful module API.
Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps is a fast and flexible plugin that fits developers looking to take charge of their sitemap generation. Unfortunately, image and video sitemaps are not available in the current version but are ready for an upcoming release.
6. XML Sitemaps (Free)
Produced by the same people responsible for the Semiologic SEO plugin, XML Sitemaps is a lightweight but powerful option for automatically generating sitemaps and notifying search engines when they’re updated.
Simple configuration options are provided to include or exclude data archives (for specific years and months), authors, categories, and tags in the sitemap generated. ID can also exclude particular pages. This plugin is one of the few which provides cached sitemaps (in the wp-content/sitemaps folder) and uses a rewrite rule to direct search engines.
This plugin differentiates itself in using actual website data to assign the frequency of updates and the weight of URLs. Additionally, the plugin determines the number of blogs, categories, and tag pages on your site so that the sitemap works well with custom query strings or other plugins – like Semiologic SEO, for example – which also use that information.
Some of the plugins described above include options for non-standard sitemaps such as images or videos either by default or as a paid extension. If you’re using a plugin that doesn’t provide that functionality – or if you have a site that primarily consists of image or video posts – you might want to consider a specialized solution like our final pick.
7. Udinra All Image Sitemap
The Udinra All Image Sitemap plugin is a recent arrival on the WordPress scene. Still, with over ten thousand active installs and an overall 4.8 satisfaction rating, it’s already filling a real need for site owners.
The plugin’s basic functionality lies in creating an XML sitemap for images on your website and automatically notifying Google, Bing, and Ask.com of their whereabouts. Doing this helps ensure your website ranks well in the image search results of these search engines, and image SEO optimization is not something you should ignore.
The plugin automatically updates sitemaps when posts and pages with images are published, and you also have the option of making this happen on a set schedule. Photos mapped will include featured images (not strictly part of post content). The image sitemap generated comprises the image title, location, and caption, all formatted to match Google’s image sitemap standards.
Udinra All Image Sitemap stands out for its overall speed. The interface is simple and easy to zip around, while all database queries and code have been optimized to reduce server resource usage and overall load. Sitemap generation also produces a gzipped version of the image sitemap, which keeps things manageable even if the site includes thousands of image URLs.
A Pro version of the Udinra, All Image Sitemap plugin, is available if you want to step things up a notch. The Udinra Image Sitemap Pro further improves image SEO by automatically generating image alt text. The plugin will also scan post content for images added directly by image tag instead of attached to posts or pages via the WordPress Media Upload. The Pro version of the plugin also enables ample site support through sitemap index files.
The Pro version includes support for NextGEN Gallery – the most widely used WordPress gallery plugin – and detects images and galleries, including those added by shortcode. The premium version also integrates nicely with e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, and Easy Digital Downloads to prioritize product images.
If your website is especially image-intensive, this plugin is worth considering.
Selecting the Right WordPress Sitemap Plugin
Choosing the right WordPress sitemap plugin is crucial in optimizing your website for search engines. As we’ve outlined above, the best one for your site will depend on what else you’re using for SEO and the specific type of functionality you want. Other vital factors to consider are the size of your site and how critical non-text content is to your strategy.
If you want one solution for your SEO and sitemap needs, Yoast SEO and the All in One SEO Pack are solid choices, with the latter being a better option for less technical users. On the other hand, the premium SEO Pack is a good fit if video sitemap generation is a priority and you don’t mind paying for all the basic functionality.
If you are looking for a sitemap-only plugin, Google Sitemap and XML Sitemaps are simple starter solutions. However, better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps is the obvious choice for more advanced customization options.
Finally, if images are a huge priority for your site (with e-commerce or image gallery functionality a significant factor), Udinra All Image Sitemap is the tool to turn to.
All Visualmodo WordPress themes work perfectly with all the listed plugins, and we recommend you use this plugin to gain more site traffic.
Sitemaps are a classic example of how much time and effort plugins save busy site owners daily. Regarding initial sitemap setup and ongoing updating, using sitemap plugins to handle sitemap generation in WordPress is an absolute no-brainer.
Anything that helps search engines index your sites more effectively is very much desired, and the more the process can be automated, the better. Every site is different, of course, so we’ve outlined a range of solutions above that we hope will hit the sweet spot for every use case.
We’d also love your thoughts on the sitemap plugins we’ve highlighted. Is there a particular sitemap plugin you always go with? Or a new plugin you think is worth considering? Get in touch via the comments and let us know!