XML Sitemap & Google News feeds

XML Sitemap & Google News feeds

Install now

Download Version 5.0.7

Requires WordPress: 4.4 or higher
Compatible up to: 5.0.1
Downloads: 1297533

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
# Votes: 54

This plugin dynamically creates feeds that comply with the XML Sitemap and the Google News Sitemap protocol. Multisite, Polylang and WPML compatible and there are no files created. There are options to control which sitemaps are enabled, which Post and Taxonomy types are included, how Priority and Lastmod are calculated, who to ping and a possibility to set additional robots.txt rules from within the WordPress admin.

The main advantage of this plugin over other XML Sitemap plugins is simplicity. No need to change file or folder permissions, move files or spend time tweaking difficult plugin options.

You, or site owners on your Multisite network, will not be bothered with overly complicated settings like most other XML Sitemap plugins. The default settings will suffice in most cases.

An XML Sitemap Index becomes instantly available on yourblog.url/sitemap.xml (or yourblog.url/?feed=sitemap if you’re not using a ‘fancy’ permalink structure) containing references to posts and pages by default, ready for indexing by search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask. When the Google News Sitemap is activated, it will become available on yourblog.url/sitemap-news.xml (or yourblog.url/?feed=sitemap-news), ready for indexing by Google News. Both are automatically referenced in the dynamically created robots.txt on yourblog.url/robots.txt to tell search engines where to find your XML Sitemaps. Google and Bing will be pinged on each new publication.

Please read the FAQ’s for info on how to get your articles listed on Google News.

Compatible with caching plugins like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache and Quick Cache that cache feeds, allowing a faster serving to the impatient (when hungry) spider.

NOTES:

  1. If you do not use fancy URL’s or you have WordPress installed in a subdirectory, a dynamic robots.txt will NOT be generated. You’ll have to create your own and upload it to your site root! See FAQ’s.

  2. On large sites, it is advised to use a good caching plugin like WP Super Cache, Quick Cache, W3 Total Cache or another to improve your site and sitemap performance.

Features

  • Compatible with multi-lingual sites using Polylang or WPML to allow all languages to be indexed equally.
  • Option to add new robots.txt rules. These can be used to further control (read: limit) the indexation of various parts of your site and subsequent spread of pagerank across your sites pages.
  • Includes XLS stylesheets for human readable sitemaps.

XML Sitemap

  • Sitemap Index with optional inclusion of sitemaps for custom post types, categories and tags.
  • Sitemap with custom URLs optional.
  • Custom/static sitemaps can be added to the index.
  • Works out-of-the-box, even on Multisite installations.
  • Optionally include Image tags with caption and title for featured images or attached images.
  • Pings Google, Bing & Yahoo on new post publication.
  • Options to define which post types and if taxonomies get included in the sitemap
  • Updates Lastmod on post modification or on comments.
  • Set Priority per post type, per taxonomy and per individual post.
  • Exclude individual posts and pages.

Google News Sitemap

  • Optionally include Image tags with caption and title for featured images or attached images.
  • Options to: set a different News Publication Name, include custom post types or limit inclusion to certain post categories.
  • Pings both Google and Bing on new publications.

Privacy / GDPR

This plugin does not collect any user or visitor data nor set browser cookies. Using this plugin should not impact your site privacy policy in any way.

Data that is published

An XML Sitemap index, referencing other sitemaps containing your web site’s public post URLs of selected post types that are already public, along with their last modification date and associated image URLs, and any selected public archive URLs.

A Google News Sitemap containing your web site’s public and recent (last 48 hours) URLs of selected news post type, along with their publication time stamp and associated image URL.

Data that is transmitted

Data actively transmitted to search engines is your sitemap location and time of publication. This happens upon each post publication when at least one of the Ping options on Settings > Writing is enabled. In this case, the selected search engines are alerted of the location and updated state of your sitemap.

Contribute

If you’re happy with this plugin as it is, please consider writing a quick rating or helping other users out on the support forum.

If you wish to help build this plugin, you’re very welcome to translate it into your language or contribute code on Github.

Credits

XML Sitemap Feed was originally based on the discontinued plugin Standard XML Sitemap Generator by Patrick Chia. Since then, it has been completely rewritten and extended in many ways.

Download

Latest version: Download XML Sitemap & Google News feeds 5.0.7 [zip]
Downloaded 1297533 times.

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars with a total of 54 votes on WordPress.org »

Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the options?
On Settings > Reading you can enable the XML Sitemap Index and (if needed) the Google News Sitemap. There is also an Additional robots.txt rules field.
Once a sitemap is enabled, its options can be found on Settings > XML Sitemap or on Settings > Google News.
Ping settings can be found on Settings > Writing.
How do I get my latest articles listed on Google News?
Go to Suggest News Content for Google News and submit your website info as detailed as possible there. Give them the URL(s) of your fresh new Google News Sitemap in the text field ‘Other’ at the bottom.
You will also want to add the sitemap to your Google Webmasters Tools account to check its validity and performance. Create an account if you don’t have one yet.
Can I manipulate values for Priority and Changefreq?
You can find default settings for Priority on Settings > XML Sitemap. A fixed priority can be set on a post by post basis too.
Changefreq has been dropped since version 4.9 because it is no longer taken into account by Google.
Do I need to submit the sitemap to search engines?
No. In normal circumstances, your site will be indexed by the major search engines before you know it. The search engines will be looking for a robots.txt file and (with this plugin activated) find a pointer in it to the XML Sitemap on your blog. The search engines will return on a regular basis to see if your site has updates.
Besides that, Google and Bing are pinged upon each new publication by default.
NOTE: If you have a server without rewrite rules, use your blog without fancy URLs (meaning, you have WordPress Permalinks set to the old default value) or have it installed in a subdirectory, then read Do I need to change my robots.txt for more instructions.
Does this plugin ping search engines?
Yes, Google and Bing are pinged upon each new publication. Unless you disable this feature on Settings > Writing.
Do I need to change my robots.txt?
In normal circumstances, if you have no static robots.txt file in your site root, the new sitemap url will be automatically added to the dynamic robots.txt that is generated by WordPress.
If you use a static robots.txt file in your website root, you will need to open it in a text editor. If there is already a line with Sitemap: http://yourblogurl.tld/sitemap.xml you can just leave it like it is. But if there is no sitemap referrence there, add it (adapted to your site url) to make search engines find your XML Sitemap.
Or if you have WP installed in a subdirectory, on a server without rewrite_rules or if you do not use fancy URLs in your Permalink structure settings. In these cases, WordPress will need a little help in getting ready for XML Sitemap indexing. Read on in the WordPress section for more.
My WordPress powered blog is installed in a subdirectory. Does that change anything?
That depends on where the index.php and .htaccess of your installation reside. If they are in the root while the rest of the WP files are installed in a subdir, so the site is accessible from your domain root, you do not have to do anything. It should work out of the box.
But if the index.php is together with your wp-config.php and all other WP files in a subdir, meaning your blog is only accessible via that subdir, you need to manage your own robots.txt file in your domain root. It has to be in the root (!) and needs a line starting with Sitemap: followed by the full URL to the sitemap feed provided by XML Sitemap Feed plugin. Like:

Sitemap: http://yourblogurl.tld/subdir/sitemap.xml

If you already have a robots.txt file with another Sitemap reference like it, just add the full line below or above it.

Do I need to use a fancy Permalink structure?
No. While I would advise you to use any one of the nicer Permalink structures for better indexing, you might not be able to (or don’t want to) do that. If so, you can still use this plugin:
Check to see if the URL yourblog.url/?feed=sitemap does produce a feed. Now manually upload your own robots.txt file to your website root containing:

Sitemap: http://yourblog.url/?feed=sitemap

User-agent: *
Allow: /

You can also choose to notify major search engines of your new XML sitemap manually. Start with getting a Google Webmasters Tools account and submit your sitemap for the first time from there to enable tracking of sitemap downloads by Google! or head over to XML-Sitemaps.com and enter your sites sitemap URL.

Can I change the sitemap name/URL?
No. If you have fancy URL’s turned ON in WordPress (Permalinks), the sitemap url that you manually submit to Google (if you are impatient) should be yourblogurl.tld/sitemap.xml but if you have the Permalinks’ Default option set the feed is only available via yourblog.url/?feed=sitemap.
I see no sitemap.xml file in my site root!
There is no actual file created. The sitemap is dynamically generated just like a feed.
I see a sitemap.xml file in site root but it does not seem to get updated!
You are most likely looking at a sitemap.xml file that has been created by another XML Sitemap plugin before you started using this one. Remove that file and let the plugin dynamically generate it just like a feed. There will not be any actual files created.
If that’s not the case, you are probably using a caching plugin or your browser does not update to the latest feed output. Please verify.
I use a caching plugin but the sitemap is not cached
Some caching plugins have the option to switch on/off caching of feeds. Make sure it is turned on.
Frederick Townes, developer of W3 Total Cache, says: “There’s a checkbox option on the page cache settings tab to cache feeds. They will expire according to the expires field value on the browser cache setting for HTML.”
The Google News sitemap is designed to NOT be cached.
I get an ERROR when opening the sitemap or robots.txt!
The absolute first thing you need to check is your blogs privacy settings. Go to Settings > Privacy and make sure you are allowing search engines to index your site. If they are blocked, your sitemap will not be available.
Then, you might want to make sure that there is at least ONE post published. WordPress is known to send 404 status headers with feed requests when there are NO posts. Even though the plugin tries to prevent that, in some cases the wrong status header will get sent anyway and Google Webmaster Tools will report a vague message like:

We encountered an error while trying to access your Sitemap.
Please ensure your Sitemap follows our guidelines and can be
accessed at the location you provided and then resubmit.

If that did not solve the issue, check the following errors that might be encountered along with their respective solutions:
404 page instead of my sitemap.xml
Try to refresh the Permalink structure in WordPress. Go to Settings > Permalinks and re-save them. Then reload the XML Sitemap in your browser with a clean browser cache. ( Try Ctrl+R to bypass the browser cache — this works on most but not all browsers. )
404 page instead of both sitemap.xml and robots.txt
There are plugins like Event Calendar (at least v.3.2.beta2) known to mess with rewrite rules, causing problems with WordPress internal feeds and robots.txt generation and thus conflict with the XML Sitemap Feed plugin. Deactivate all plugins and see if you get a basic robots.txt file showing:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

Reactivate your plugins one by one to find out which one is causing the problem. Then report the bug to the plugin developer.
404 page instead of robots.txt while sitemap.xml works fine
There is a known issue with WordPress (at least up to 2.8) not generating a robots.txt when there are no posts with published status. If you use WordPress as a CMS with only pages, this will affect you.
To get around this, you might either at least write one post and give it Private status or alternatively create your own robots.txt file containing:

Sitemap: http://yourblog.url/sitemap.xml

User-agent: *
Allow: /

and upload it to your web root…
Error loading stylesheet: An unknown error has occurred
On some setups (usually using the WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin) this error occurs. The problem is known, the cause is not… Until I find out why this is happening, please take comfort in knowing that this only affects reading the sitemap in normal browsers but will NOT affect any spidering/indexing on your site. The sitemap is still readable by all search engines!
XML declaration allowed only at the start of the document
This error occurs when blank lines or other output is generated before the start of the actual sitemap content. This can be caused by blank lines at the beginning of wp-config.php or your themes functions.php or by another plugin that generates output where it shouldn’t. You’ll need to test by disabling all other plugins, switching to the default theme and manually inspecting your wp-config.php file.

I see only a BLANK (white) page when opening the sitemap
There are several cases where this might happen.
Open your sitemap in a browser and look at the source code. This can usually be seen by hitting Ctrl+U or right-click then select ‘View source…’ Then scan the produced source (if any) for errors.
A. If you see strange output in the first few lines (head tags) of the source, then there is a conflict or bug occuring on your installation. Please go to the Support forum for help.
B. If the source is empty or incomplete then you’re probably experiencing an issue with your servers PHP memory limit. In those cases, you should see a messages like PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of xxxxxx bytes exhausted. in your server/account error log file.
This can happen on large sites. To avoid these issues, there is an option to split posts over different sitemaps on Settings > XML Sitemap. Try different settings, each time revisiting the main sitemap index file and open different sitemaps listed there to check.
Read more on Increasing memory allocated to PHP (try a value higher than 256M) or ask your hosting provider what you can do.
Can I run this on a WPMU / WP3+ Multi-Site setup?
Yes. In fact, it has been designed for it. Tested on WPMU 2.9.2 and WPMS 3+ both with normal activation and with Network Activate / Site Wide Activate.

Commercial message:

Screenshots

  1. XML Sitemap feed viewed in a normal browser. For your eyes only ;)

    XML Sitemap feed viewed in a normal browser. For your eyes only 😉

  2. XML Sitemap source as read by search engines.

    XML Sitemap source as read by search engines.

553 thoughts on “XML Sitemap & Google News feeds

  1. Koen

    Hi,

    Thanks for the plugin.

    Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work with my polylang setup. I have it set up with multiple domain names, a domain name for each language. Whenever I go to one of the domains /sitemap.xml, I always get the sitemap of the default language.

    How can I fix this?

    Reply
    1. RavanH Post author

      Hi Koen, the plugin has not been tested with Polylang on different domain names but in theory this should be done:
      1. make sure you are the verified owner of each domain name in your Google and Bing Search Console Webmaster Tools accounts
      2. go to Settings > XML Sitemap and find on the tab Advanced the Allowed domains field, add all alternative domains here to prevent them from being filtered out of the sitemap.

      Now, all languages should appear in your sitemap. The sitemap on each language domain will contain all languages so you do not need to add each of them to Search Console, only the one on your main domain. As long as you are the verified owner of all other domains, the URLs will be accepted for indexing.

      Reply
    1. RavanH Post author

      Hi dzair, you can also just remove the static robots.txt file and let WordPress take care of it dynamically. You can append rules on the Settings > Reading admin page in the robots.txt field.

      Reply
    1. Pharéo

      Access your hosting space via FTP or the hosting panel, the static robots.txt file should be in your site root, along with the other root files like index.php and htaccess files and usual wordpress files and folders. Simply rename the existing robots.txt to robots.tmp (for safe-keeping) and test the address via your browser again https://www.dzairpress.com/robots.txt

      Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.