Shopify sitemaps (ultimate guide)
In the eCommerce world, being seen on search engines is like having a storefront on the busiest street in the city. The better your visibility, the more likely customers are to find you. And just like a physical storefront that needs to be well-designed and easy to navigate, your website needs to be optimized for search engines.
Posted 2 months ago by Jonathan Kennedy
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One of the most important ways to optimize your site is by creating a sitemap. This is the map of your website that tells search engines where to find all your pages. In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about Shopify sitemaps and how to create one for your store.
What is a Shopify sitemap?
A Shopify sitemap is a piece of code that lives in the HTML of your site and tells search engines about all the different pages on your website. It’s like an index that points to all the different content on your site.
A sitemap is important because it helps search engines understand the structure of your website and find all the different pages. This is especially important for large stores with lots of pages or those with content that is not easily found by following links.
A sitemap helps Google’s automotive bots, popularly known as spiders, to quickly and easily find all the pages on your website. The faster they can find your pages, the sooner they can index them and make them available in search results.
It’s worth mentioning that even though Shopify generates this file for you, it’s up to you to submit it to search engines. If you duplicate your Shopify store and want the cloned site to rank, the framework that Shopify uses requires you to generate and submit a new sitemap.
Note: When you duplicate your store, you need Shopify themes that match your brand. Submit a task to the team at HeyCarson. We will have your existing Shopify theme customized to match every aspect of your brand.
Having an error-free, clean, and up-to-date sitemap means your store is more likely to be indexed correctly, which can lead to better rankings and increased traffic.
Benefits of submitting a Shopify sitemap
No one knows how much submitting sitemaps benefits SEO, but sources say the Google algorithm considers sitemaps when ranking a website. This means that if you have a well-optimized sitemap, your store is more likely to be crawled more often and indexed more quickly.
Data clarity is one of the most important aspects of SEO. If your store has a lot of products, pages, blog posts, or other content, it can be difficult for search engines to find and understand all your content.
A sitemap gives search engines a clear picture of all the content on your site so they can index it more accurately. This can lead to better rankings and increased traffic.
Faster ranking for new or updated pages
If you add more variants to Shopify or add new products and pages, search engines can take a while to find and index these changes.
Submitting a sitemap helps search engines find and index these changes faster so they can appear in search results sooner. It may take up to 6 months for pages not included in a sitemap to be found and indexed by search engines. However, Shopify themselves says it might take 48-72 hours for your pages to be indexed from the time you submit your sitemap.
Better rankings and faster indexing can lead to increased traffic from organic searches. If you’re trying to rank for competitive keywords, submitting a sitemap can give you a small ranking boost that can make a big difference in traffic.
Efficient crawling of large sites
When you upload files to Shopify, it can be hard for Google to navigate through your large site. This is especially true if your site has a lot of products or pages.
If you have a site of 100 pages or less, you don’t need to worry about this too much since bots can easily find and crawl all your pages. But, submitting a sitemap can help Googlebot crawl your site more efficiently if you have a large site with hundreds or thousands of pages.
Typically, Shopify generates sitemaps for all stores because most of them exceed 100 pages. Therefore, you don’t have to lift a finger unless you have over 50,000 URLs, in which case, you need to generate a sitemap index file.
A sitemap index file is a file that points to other sitemaps and helps Googlebot crawl large sites more efficiently. If your Shopify store has more than 50,000 URLs, you need to generate and submit a sitemap index file in addition to your sitemap.
Slightly remedy poor internal linking
One of Google’s ranking factors is internal linking. If your site has poor internal linking, it can be hard for Googlebot to find and index all your pages.
Submitting a sitemap helps Googlebot find and index all your pages, even if they’re not well-linked internally. This can lead to better rankings and increased traffic.
But, remember there is no substitute for manually setting up proper internal linking. Creating an HTML sitemap instead of the XML sitemap we are talking about in this article is a good way to do this.
For the future of your store
Just like you ensure your Shopify API key is always up to date and your Shopify SSL certificate never expires, your Shopify sitemap is one of the most effective ways to develop a long-term SEO strategy for your store.
With the growth of AI and voice search, it is more important than ever to have a well-structured sitemap. This will help Google understand your site’s content so it can be accurately represented in search results.
Not only that, but a sitemap can also help you keep track of all the pages on your site so you can ensure that they’re all up-to-date and free of errors. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
How to make a Shopify sitemap
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of having a sitemap, let’s get into how to make one.
If you’re using Shopify, there’s no need to worry about manually creating a sitemap. Shopify automatically generates a sitemap for all stores.
To find your sitemap, log into your Shopify admin and go to Online Store > Navigation. Under the “Sitemaps” heading, you’ll see a link to your sitemap.
If you click on the link, you’ll be taken to a page where you can see all the pages being indexed by Google.
You can also find your sitemap by typing your store’s URL on the Google search bar, followed by /sitemap.xml. For example, if your store’s URL is “mystore.com”, you would type “mystore.com/sitemap.xml” into the search bar.
Note: If your store is password protected, you won’t be able to see your sitemap. You need to disable password protection to make your sitemap visible. To do this, go to Online Store > Preferences and uncheck the “Password protect your store” option. You can then re-enable password protection after you’re done viewing your sitemap.
Shopify generates two main types of sitemaps:
- Parent sitemap: This is a sitemap of all the pages on your site. This includes products, collections, blog posts, pages, and any other content you have on your site.
- Child sitemap: This is a sitemap of all the products on your site. If you have a lot of products, Shopify will generate multiple child sitemaps and include them in the parent sitemap.
If you want to exclude certain pages from your sitemap, you can exclude them from your navigation menus. To do this:
- Go to Online Store > Navigation.
- Click on the “Main menu” or “Footer menu” where the page you want to exclude is located.
- Hover over the page you want to exclude and click on the “…” icon.
- Click on “Exclude from menus.”
How to submit a Shopify sitemap to google
To submit a Shopify sitemap to Google, you’ll need to add it to your Google Search Console account. If you don’t have a Google Search Console account, you can create one for free by going to Google Search Console and clicking on the “Start now” button.
Once you’re logged into your account, follow the following steps:
Step one: Verify your site
You need to add your store as a property to submit a sitemap. To do this:
- Click on the “Add property” button.
- Enter your store’s URL and click on the “Continue” button.
- Select the “Domain” option and click on the “Finish” button.
There are several verification methods you can use to verify your site. For this guide, we’ll be using the “HTML tag” method.
To verify your site using the HTML tag method:
- Copy the code provided by Google.
- Log into your Shopify admin and go to Online Store > Themes.
- Click on “Actions” and then “Edit code.”
- Under the “Layout” folder, click on “theme.liquid.”
- Paste the code you copied from Google into the “<head>” section of your theme.liquid file and click on “Save.”
Step two: add your sitemap to Google Search Console
Once you’ve verified your site, you can now add your sitemap. To do this:
- Click on the “Sitemaps” button.
- Enter the URL of your sitemap and click on the “Submit” button.
- You should see a message that says, “Your Sitemap has been successfully submitted.”
Below Submitted Sitemaps, you should see all the sitemaps you’ve submitted and the number of URLs each sitemap contains. To view more details about a sitemap, click on the sitemap URL.
You can also resubmit your sitemap if you’ve made changes to it and want Google to re-crawl your site. You can do this by following the above steps.
If for some reason you need to delete a sitemap, follow these steps:
- Hover over the sitemap URL and click on the “…” icon.
- Click on “Remove.”
- A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to delete the sitemap. Click on the “Remove” button.
Remember, removing a sitemap will also remove all the URLs in that sitemap from Google’s index. So, if you accidentally delete a sitemap, you can submit it again and Google will re-crawl your site. Be careful when deleting sitemaps.
Shopify sitemaps are a great way to help Google index your site. They’re also a great way to keep track of all the pages on your site. By adding sitemaps to your Google Search Console account, you can keep track of how often your sitemaps are being crawled and any errors that Google encounters when crawling your site. By following the steps in this guide, you can easily submit your sitemap to Google and get your site indexed in no time. Remember to regularly back up your Shopify store so that in case of an unexpected data loss, you can quickly restore your site and keep your crawled pages alive on the SERPs.
Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking other guides:
- What is Shopify’s Liquid?
- Shopify redirects: creation guide
- How to cancel your Shopify subscription (and delete your store)
- How to change Shopify store name
- How to remove powered by Shopify from your store
- How to change your domain name on Shopify (step-by-step guide)
- How many Shopify stores can I have?
- Who uses Shopify? (biggest companies on the platform)
- What is my Shopify URL? (and how to find it)
- How to change your URL on Shopify (step-by-step guide)