If you are wondering what a Joomla sitemap is and how to create an XML sitemap for your Joomla website, this article is for you. Following is the story of sitemap. It tells you how sitemaps evolved over time, what is an XML sitemap, how to create a Joomla sitemap to help your website prepare for a better SEO. Also, we've covered how to add sitemaps to search engines like Google to make your Joomla website perform better in getting organic traffic.

What is a Sitemap?

A sitemap is a file that provides information about the relationship among the pages, images, videos and other files on a website. At the early age of the internet, sitemaps were basically used to show the list of webpages on a website and the relation between pages for a human to navigate through the website properly.

Over time, the role of sitemaps has evolved. Humans no longer need a sitemap to browse a website. But search engines do. It has become a way for website owners to tell search engines like Google what URLs should be ranked in a search result and what should not. This is where the XML sitemap comes. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create an XML sitemap for your Joomla website and how to add the Joomla sitemap to Google Search Console.

What's an XML Sitemap?

As it’s difficult to find new destinations without a map, search engines like Google finds it difficult to discover the important pages of a website without a sitemap and it’s written in XML. Sitemaps tell Google including other search engines where and how to find the pages of a website. This is crucial because without indexing a website Google can’t rank its content. An XML sitemap looks like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
	<url>
		<loc>https://www.joomshaper.com/</loc>
        <lastmod>2019-11-08T04:29:28+00:00</lastmod>
        <priority>1.00</priority>
	</url>
	<url>
		<loc>https://www.joomshaper.com/page-builder</loc>
        <lastmod>2019-11-08T04:29:29+00:00</lastmod>
        <priority>0.80</priority>
	</url>
</urlset> 

To create a Joomla XML sitemap for your website and add it to the Google Search Console, we need the followings:

  • A live website
  • A sitemap creation tool
  • A Google Search Console account

Creating a Sitemap

From the above example, you already know what an XML sitemap looks like. Yes, it’s a bit daunting at first. Then again, it’s not written for humans, you don’t have to worry about that since it’s written for search engines to index your website. But, how do we create one? There are numerous tools to create an XML sitemap for your Joomla website. One of my favorites is xml-sitemaps.com.

It’s pretty simple and straight forward, after going to xml-sitemaps.com you just paste the link to your website and hit START.

How to Create an XML Sitemap For Your Joomla Website

It will take a while to list all your URLs and create the sitemap for your Joomla website.

How to Create an XML Sitemap For Your Joomla Website

You will see the above screen once the XML sitemap is created. Click to view the sitemap details.

How to Create an XML Sitemap For Your Joomla Website

Click the Download button to get the Joomla XML sitemap for your website. Once you have the sitemap.xml file we’ll proceed to the next step.

XML can have 50,000 URLs listed and can be as large as 50 MB in size. 

Submitting Your Sitemap to Google

It’s a good practice to name the file as sitemap.xml. Once we have the XML file, we’ll upload it to the root folder of our website. This will allow us to access the sitemap at yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml. If you have multiple sitemaps, you can name it like sitemap_1.xml and so on. To submit your Joomla XML sitemap to Google.

Navigate to Google Search Console > Sitemaps > put the location of your sitemap, ideally “https://yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml” > then click “Submit”.

How to Create an XML Sitemap For Your Joomla Website

Done! That’s how to create an XML sitemap for any Joomla site and submit it to Google.

Bonus Tip: One of the good practices regarding sitemaps, is to add the URL of the sitemap to the robots.txt file of the website. The robots.txt file is found in the root directory of your web server. After opening the file paste the following code:

Sitemap: https://www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

Note: There are a number of ways to create an XML sitemap for your Joomla website. We have shown only one of them. You can dynamically create the sitemap of your Joomla website using extensions. Head over to the Joomla Extensions Directory if you wish to use an extension for this.

The importance of a sitemap is not visible to the human eyes. It is not something that will make your website rank first in a Google search. However, it is something without which a search engine may not know the existence of your website. Thus, to make your website survive in the virtual world of gazillions of websites, we have to create sitemaps for our websites and submit them to search engines so that they can index our contents.

In our mission to help Joomla grow and make you a better developer, we are constantly trying to provide you with helpful resources. Let us know in the comments below, if you’ve found this article useful and what you’d like to know about in the next tutorial. Until then happy developing.