Creating an XML sitemap is a great way to announce your site to search engines and have them quickly have access to all of the pages of your site. Since this is an important tool for SEO, we created a Sitemap Generator that allows you to quickly and easily generate an XML sitemap for all of the pages of your site.
If you are using the Bootstrap version of the software, you can enable this new version of the Sitemap Generator on your site by following these steps (this should be automatically set up for new members):
- In the Admin area of your site, navigate to Settings >> Advanced Settings
- Search for the keyword "sitemap" to find the "Enable New Sitemap Generator" setting
- Set this to 1:
Click on the "Save Changes" button
Now when you open the Sitemap Generator, following the instructions below, you will be using the new Sitemap Generator. If you are not using the Bootstrap version of the software, even if you set the above setting to 1, when you open the Sitemap Generator tool, it will continue to use the old version. Documentation for the older version of the Sitemap Generator can be found here.
Easy Sitemap Generation
For most users, following the instructions in this section will accomplish exactly what you need - create a new XML sitemap which can be submitted to search engines so they are aware of all of the pages of your website. If you want to have more granular control over each individual sitemap which is created or updated, please see the section below called "Advanced Sitemap Generation".
Create the sitemap file
- Login to the Admin area of your site
- Navigate to Toolbox >> Sitemap Generator
- Click on the "Generate Sitemap" button:
- You will see a message that a sitemap is being generated. Depending on the size of your site and how many members you have, this could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes to complete. Please do not navigate away from this page while it is processing.
- Once it is complete, you will see a success message. Click on "OK":
- You will now see a link for the XML sitemap that you can submit to search engines. You can copy this link directly or click on the "Copy to Clipboard" button to copy the link to your clipboard:
- You now create a cron job that automatically updates the sitemap of the site:
You will have these different options for your sitemap to be re submitted every week or every month:
Submit your sitemap to the search engines
Here are instructions to submit the XML sitemap link to 2 of the most popular search engines:
Advanced Sitemap Generation
If you would like to have more control of which kinds of URLs are included in your XML sitemap, we have some advanced controls available. In order to understand how to best use these, it is first necessary to understand a bit about how the Sitemap Generator works.
How the Sitemap Generator works
The Sitemap Generator will create a record of every page of your website in a formatted XML sitemap file that can be submitted to search engines.
The Sitemap Generator does this by creating separate XML files based on each of the SEO Templates (note: there are a few SEO Templates that no sitemap file is created for, such as the payment pages for example), and a separate file for all of the Static Pages on your website.
However, search engines will generally only accept a single XML sitemap file to be submitted for a website. Since a separate XML file is created for each SEO Template and a separate one for static pages, a total of 40+ separate sitemap files will be created. In order to submit all of these individual XMLS sitemap files, the Sitemap Generator also creates what is called a "Sitemap Index File", which is the actual file that is submitted to search engines.
Sitemap Index File
As of the writing of this article, search engines generally allow up to 50,000 URLs to be in a single sitemap file. However, since many sites on the platform can have many more than 50,000 URLs, the Sitemap Generator will create several smaller XML sitemap files and one master file called a "sitemap index file".
The sitemap index file is a single XML file that contains links to all of the smaller sitemap files which contain the URLs of your website. When submitting your sitemap to search engines, you will submit the sitemap index file. For more information, please see this article from Google on the topic.
To display all of the individual sitemap files that can be generated and added to your Sitemap Index File, click on the "Advanced Controls" button:
Clicking this button will display a list of all of the SEO Templates that sitemap files can be generated from, along with some additional information and actions:
Generate or Update a Sitemap File for a Single SEO Template
To generate or update the sitemap file for a single SEO Template, locate the SEO Template you would like to generate it for, and click on the "Add / Update Sitemap" button next to it:
After doing this, the system will generate a sitemap file for just that SEO Template and add the updated sitemap file to the Sitemap Index File. A link to the sitemap file for that SEO Template will then appear:
Generate or Update Sitemap Files for Multiple Selected SEO Templates
To generate or update the sitemap files for more that one SEO Template at a time, simply check the box next to all of your chosen SEO Templates:
After checking these boxes, scroll down and click on the "Bulk Add / Update" button:
After the system finishes processing the request, you will then see a link for each file here:
Doing this will update the sitemaps for those SEO templates and update the Sitemap Index File with the latest URLs as well.
Once you have generated or updated the sitemap files of your choice, you can submit the sitemap file shown at the top of the page to search engines:
SEO Templates That Will Generate More Than 50,000 URLs
As mentioned above, search engines will generally accept a sitemap file that has a maximum of 50,000 URLs per file. For larger sites, there can be more than 50,000 URLs generated for a single SEO Template. If this is the case, the system will generate a file for the first 50,000 URLs, and then continue generating another file for the next 50,000 URLs, and so on.
If this happens for an SEO Template, you will see multiple sitemap file links for the SEO Template (Sitemap File 1, Sitemap File 2, etc), instead of seeing a single sitemap file link as shown below:
All of these additional sitemap files are automatically added to the Sitemap Index File as soon as they are generated.