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How can I submit a sitemap to Google?

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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.

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

Possibility #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:

Confirmation of your sitemap submission via ping command

Confirmation of your sitemap submission via ping command

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:

Confirmation of your sitemap submission via ping command

Confirmation of your sitemap submission via ping command

Possibility #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 case 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. You can then use the following settings to send your sitemap to Google.

The following steps are necessary in order to submit your sitemap through the Google Search Console:

  • log into the Google Search Console and select the desired website
  • in the left navigation, click on “Optimization”
  • in the sub-menu, select “Sitemaps”
  • then click the red button “Add/test sitemap”
Dialogue for sitemaps submission in the Google Search Console Step 1

Dialogue for sitemaps submission in the Google Search Console Step 1

  • In the following dialogue you have to add the path to your sitemap and then click on the blue button “Submit sitemap“ to confirm your submission:
Dialogue for sitemaps submission in the Google Search Console Step 2

Dialogue for sitemaps submission in the Google Search Console Step 2

  • Done!

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 sitemap that has not been crawled yet (not yet processed), which also contains an error:
Informationen über die Eingereichte Sitemap

Information about the submitted sitemap

  • If there was an error, you can thoroughly analyse it. In this case, the sitemap could not be found – error code 404 :
Error: Sitemap cannot be found

Error: Sitemap cannot be found

Once the sitemap was 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.

  • Here you can see the last time the sitemap was submitted and processed. You are also able to see how many URLs were submitted through the sitemap and how many of these URLs made it into the index:
Overview of both the submitted and actually indexed URLs

Overview of both the submitted and actually indexed URLs

The search engine Bing also has its own Webmaster-Tools, which can be used to submit a sitemap.

Screenshot of the Bing Webmaster-Tools

Screenshot of the Bing Webmaster-Tools

(http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster)

Advice

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

Ideally, you should automatically generate your XML sitemap.

Additional information on this topic:

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