WordPress to get a built-in XML sitemap feature

New XML sitemap generator will make it easier for WordPress sites to get indexed on search engines like Google.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor

WordPress, the content management system running a third of today's internet sites, is getting built-in support for XML sitemaps.

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The feature will go live in WordPress 5.5, scheduled for release later this fall.

XML sitemaps are special files that contain a list of all the site's pages, blog posts, tags, and other content. Search engines like Google, Bing, and others, use sitemaps to index a site's content, with XML-based sitemaps being the most widely used format.

Since its launch in 2003, WordPress has not supported sitemap-generation, a function it has left to third-party plugins until now.

Most of today's WordPress site administrators usually employ an SEO or sitemap-generator plugin to generate a XML sitemap and upload the sitemap to search engines and achieve better rankings in search engine results.

Feature scheduled for WordPress 5.5

"With version 5.5., WordPress will expose a sitemap index at /wp-sitemap.xml. This is the main XML file that contains the listing of all the sitemap pages exposed by a WordPress site," the WordPress team said earlier this week.

"The robots.txt file exposed by WordPress will reference the sitemap index so that it can be easily discovered by search engines."

Work on finally adding built-in support for a sitemap-generation feature in the main WordPress codebase began last year after repeated user requests throughout the past few years.

According to the WordPress developer team, each WordPress site will generate a central file called a sitemap index that can reference up to 50,000 adjacent XML sitemaps, each holding up to 2,000 entries each, for indexing various types of content.

"By default, sitemaps are created for all public and publicly queryable post types and taxonomies, as well as for author archives and of course the homepage of the site," the WordPress team said.

In addition, the new WordPress sitemap files will also be compatible with standards and formats used by major search engines like Google and Bing, so site owners can immediately have content ready for indexing once it goes live.

Additional technical details are available in the WordPress team's official announcement.

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