Adding an RSS sitemap is a great move, as it serves an important function for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on WordPress websites. RSS feed is also pivotal if you plan on connecting your site to external products or services, as it improves the quality and accuracy of the content updates you provide. It works in unison with the XML sitemap we taught you to implement in WordPress. Both, when submitted to Google and other search engines, help index your site content and the changes you make, resulting in potentially higher search result rankings. With the benefits covered, let’s dig into how to add an RSS sitemap in WordPress.
What is an RSS sitemap?
RSS sitemap, also known as Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary sitemap, represents a file in the .rss file format that contains links to pages on your site and is updated when you make a change. WordPress websites typically utilize three types of sitemaps: XML, RSS, and Atom. They contain the same information, but the XML one usually contains URLs to all pages (except excluded ones) on your site. It is large and accessed and downloaded far less frequently by Google. That’s where RSS and Atom sitemaps come in. That’s because they mainly contain the most recent updates you made to your site.
Therefore, they are smaller and are accessed far less frequently by search engines. This saves resources on both ends and makes sure updates are registered by search engines quickly and accurately. A thing to note is that having an RSS sitemap (or any, for that matter) does not guarantee search engines will index those URLs, only boosts the chances. If you’re a news, biography, or cinematography site, you want also want an additional sitemap for those niches.
1. Add an RSS sitemap using a WordPress plugin
Though we normally begin with manual methods that require as few resources as possible, the situation is different. No site owner wants to add URLs to the sitemap manually. It’s slow, the margin of error is great, and there’s always a need to ensure you cover every update since crawlers last visited your site. Luckily, there is no need to resort to that option. Like in lots of cases, installing a WordPress plugin can solve the problem and even automatize a solution. Though we have no ties and there are plenty of choices, we’ll demonstrate one that can employ all three types of sitemaps at once. Follow these instructions to use a plugin for WordPress to add an RSS sitemap:
- Install and activate the plugin. We’ll use All in One SEO (AIO SEO) by WPBeginner.
- If you already have it, head over to All in One SEO → Sitemaps in the left sidebar. Otherwise, you’ll see an AIO SEO setup wizard that will guide you through the proper configuration.
- Once the setup finishes switch from the General Settings tab to the RSS Sitemap one in the top right corner.
- Toggle the switch next to Enable Sitemap.
- After a brief delay, you’ll see the feature is turned on. You now have two options to check whether it works:
- Click the Open RSS Sitemap button under “Preview”.
- Visit the sitemap manually via the
2. Making an RSS sitemap the for WordPress site manually
We have good and bad news. The good is that, although you can certainly can, you don’t need to create an RSS sitemap. That’s because Google and other search engines can simply use your RSS feed’s URL as one, and that one is generated by WordPress automatically, frequently at the
https://your-website.com/feed/ URL or perhaps
~/feed.rss. However, ensure that the feed uses RSS 2.0 or mRSS (for media content such as videos) since that’s the format Google and others accept. Finally, like the XML or Atom sitemap, your RSS one cannot exceed 50 MB in size or 50,000 URLs, whichever you reach first.
We also have to mention the ability to generate an RSS sitemap using external tools. Searching “rss sitemap generator” will produce a myriad of websites that, after entering your site URL, create a .rss file with URLs inside. You can then upload the file anywhere on your site and use the method below. However, you’d have to repeat this every time you make changes to your site, which is impractical. Thus, only use it as a temporary fix, so your site’s SEO doesn’t suffer. Further, it’s unsuitable for larger websites since the limit is usually around 100 to 500 URLs. Many tools require payment for expansion.
3. Submit your RSS sitemap to Google Search Console
Regardless of how you created your RSS sitemap, you should add it to your Google Search Console, so crawlers know where to look for updates. Here’s how the procedure works:
- Visit the Google Search Console page and sign in to your account.
- Confirm the ownership of your domain if you haven’t already. To do so:
- Select the property type. We suggest URL prefix as it’s faster and easier.
- Enter the URL for your site.
- Choose a variety of methods to authorize yourself as the owner. The HTML tag one is the quickest—you merely have to copy the code on-screen and paste it into the .html file for your website’s home page, within the
<head>tag. The safest way is to use the plugin in method 3 in our guide on editing WordPress headers.
- Note. If you used AIO SEO, it comes with built-in ownership verification tools inside the General Settings tab. In that case, you can simply copy-paste the code.
- You may have to clear your site cache if the verification fails.
- Head over to the Sitemap option in the left-hand menu.
- Under “Add a new sitemap” enter the URL for your RSS sitemap and click on Submit.
- Ensure the URL appeared under “Submitted sitemaps” and keep an eye on the date crawlers visited it to confirm the process went well.
- Optional. Add your sitemap to other search engines such as Bing, Yandex, and Baidu Webmaster Tools.