How can I submit a sitemap to Google?

You can manually submit your sitemap to Google through two different routes and it is recommended that you add a reference to your sitemap to your robots.txt. The manual ping and Google Search Console methods are show below.

Simply add the URL to your sitemap in the very first or last line of your robots.txt:

sitemap: http://www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml

Option #1: the manual ping

You can use a simple ping command. which you type into the address bar of your browser, to submit a sitemap to Google. The website will then be crawled as soon as possible.

The following HTTP request will submit your sitemap to Google:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=http://www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml

Google recommends encoding your sitemap URL. In our example, the decoded URL http://www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml turns into the encoded URL http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mydomain.com%2Fsitemap.xml.

We will then use the encoded URL to submit our sitemap to Google:

http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mydomain.com%2Fsitemap.xml

A URL can easily be decoded or encoded using the tool “URL Decoder/Encoder”.

Your successful sitemap submission to Google will be confirmed with a message:

Google ping response.

Information on Bing

You can also submit a sitemap to Bing by using an HTTP request:

http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?sitemap=http://www.mydomain.com/sitemap.xml

Bing does not specify any recommendations on whether or not you should submit an encoded or decoded URL.

A successful submission of your sitemap to Bing will also be confirmed with a message:

bing sitemap ping response
Confirmation of your sitemap submission via ping command

Option #2: the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)

The Google Search Console provides a very comfortable way of submitting your sitemap to Google. It also gives you an extensive overview about the current status of your sitemaps. IN terms of SEO activities it’s one of the first things that need to be done in order to see how your site is assesed by Google.

If you are not yet making use of the Google Search Console, you can unlock your website and use it with the Google Search Console (www.google.com/webmasters/tools/) in just a few minutes.

We have a guide to registering your site with Google Search Console

Once your sitemap is submitted, it is checked and you can immediately see the process-status and whether there were any errors on an informative overview page.

Example of a newly submitted site that does not yet include a sitemap.

Google Search Console submit sitemap page

Submit the new sitemap using the “Add a new sitemap input” box.

Once the sitemap has been submitted correctly and all errors have been fixed, the tab “Sitemaps” in the Google Search Console will provide you with information about the submitted sitemaps for all your domains.

Conclusion

It is recommended that you submit your sitemap through the Google Search Console/Bing Webmaster-Tools, as shown in option #2. This enables you to quickly spot and fix problems with the indexing of your site.

Ideally, you should automatically generate your XML sitemap but do remember that if you have unlinked content, external tools will not find it. If you use an internal tool, be aware that large sites may also have static HTML content and multiple content management systems.

Additional information on sitemap submissions

Steve Paine
16.02.2021