How To Find And Submit Shopify Sitemaps

There is a high chance that you have heard of Shopify or you’ve already used it if you’re an online seller or the owner of an online retail business. Shopify is a handy platform that helps run your e-commerce business online more easily.

Needless to say, to get the best of your business, one of the ways is that your store always stays on top of the search visibility.

In this guide, we’ll have a look at a vital SEO element of your Shopify website: Shopify sitemap. We’ll differentiate HTML and XML Shopify sitemaps, the way to create or look for your Shopify sitemap, and how to submit the sitemap to Google.

What Are Shopify XML and HTML Sitemaps?

A Shopify sitemap contains information about the relationship among pages of your Shopify store. There are two kinds of sitemaps: 

  • XML sitemaps: this is used by search engines to navigate your website. 
  • HTML sitemaps: this is for users’ use only. However, Google likes to see them, too.

Let’s take a further look at each kind of sitemap.

What is a Shopify XML sitemap?

Your XML sitemap plays an important role in your SEO. An XML sitemap is written in eXtensible Markup Language and consists of links to all of your collection pages, products page, blogs, and other categories.

Google search engine reads this file to crawl and index your Shopify store content. The XML sitemap also provides context such as how often your pages are changed, the last time each page was updated, and any alternative language versions of each page.

This extra information is especially practical to search engines because it lets them be aware of any changes immediately. The Shopify XML sitemap cannot be manually adjusted.

Let’s look at the following sitemap example provided by Sitemaps.org

As depicted in the photo, this sitemap includes: 

  • The main URL (<loc>)
  • Information about the last time on which the file was modified (<lastmod>)
  • Information about the update frequency of the page (<changefreq>)
  • Information about the importance of this page is within the site (<priority>)
  • Details of other languages (<html:link>)

Keep in mind that having a strong sitemap does not always guarantee the attention of Google. However, including one will increase the chance of your web pages being crawled and indexed by search engines.

What about HTML sitemaps?

An HTML sitemap is an HTML page that contains all pages of a website. Unlike XML sitemaps, HTML sitemaps are mainly created for website visitors’ benefits. They help users get a glimpse of your site structure and navigate to where they need it.

This doesn’t mean HTML sitemaps are not important for SEO. Keep in mind that Google also factors in user experience score when ranking websites. By showing the search engine an HTML sitemap, you depict your store’s user-friendly functionality.

Aside from improving your store SEO ranking, an HTML sitemap also has other benefits:

  • Organize large websites: The sitemap serves as a directory for all webpages, letting users quickly find what they’re searching for.
  • Make it easy to categorize your content: To rank your content in a proper way, search engines need to know what it’s about.
  • Easily add new content to sites: Sitemaps are critical for websites changing frequently. When adding a page, a look at your sitemap tells you where it fits logically.
  • Find internal linking opportunities: Your sitemap lets you quickly identify internal links, which are also critical to improving SEO.
  • Identify areas to improve site navigation: You can also use your sitemap to see how your website’s overall navigation can be improved. This can be handy if you have an older site with a lot of archived content that isn’t well organized

However, HTML sitemaps cannot be updated automatically so you need to update the sitemap regularly to keep it up to date.

An HTML sitemap may look like this:

You can usually find the link to an HTML sitemap in the website header or footer, making it easily accessible for users:

Why Are Shopify Sitemaps Important?

Adding your Shopify sitemap to Google Search Console will help Google index valuable information on your store and improve the SEO ranking of your website. It means your store products and blogs will stand a better chance of ranking high on search results and bringing in more customers for your online business.

Without a sitemap, Google can still find your pages. However, it will take Google a long time to crawl your content and index your content, which may hurt your store visibility in search results and affect your business.

XML sitemaps particularly play an important role for large websites. It can take Google a long time to crawl a big site, and this is when a sitemap helps speed up the process. New sites, sites with orphaned pages, and sites that have lots of images or videos can also benefit from an XML sitemap.

All Shopify stores automatically create an XML file that consists of links to all of your blog posts, collections, products, pages, and product images. As you keep on building your store, these links will be categorized into the sitemap.

How to Create Your Shopify Sitemap?

One of the greatest things about a Shopify store is you don’t have to spend time building a Shopify sitemap as it is created automatically for you. Your sitemap consists of links to the following pages: 

  • Products
  • Product images
  • Pages
  • Collections
  • Blog posts

However, depending on your Shopify account type, your sitemap will be different:

  • On a Basic account: your domain is provided with a sitemap file, which can be found by search engines. 
  • On other account types: your store is offered an extra international domains feature which allows you to create regional and country-specific domains. If this feature is used,  sitemaps will be provided for all of your domains and are discoverable for search engines. 

How to Find Your Shopify Sitemap?

Your Shopify sitemap can be easily found by typing your main domain and adding the phrase“/sitemap.xml” to the end of the URL From there, you will find a page with your store XML file. This is your main or parent sitemap. If you have a site containing a lot of URLs, you may also have links to individual sitemaps, called “child” sitemaps.

Generally speaking, your Shopify child sitemaps will have:

  • Product pages:  each product you sell has its own sitemap
  • Collection pages: your product collection pages have their own sitemaps
  • Blog posts: each of your  blog post is collected in a sitemap

The files are updated automatically whenever new content is added, like web page updates, new products, collections, images, or blog posts. 

How to Customize Your Shopify Sitemap?

If you are wondering whether your Shopify XML sitemap can be customized, the answer is simply NO. However, there is a workaround. Shopify lets you block any pages from being crawled if you don’t want them to be seen by Google. All you need to do is make some changes in Shopify to your robots.txt file. 

Below is how to do it:

  • Open your Shopify admin. Go to the Online Store and select Themes.
  • Select the theme needed to edit. Go to Actions, then Edit code.
  • Click the theme.liquid layout file and make your changes below <head>. The changes to make depends on what you want to exclude.
  • Click Save

How to Submit Your Sitemap to Google Search Console

In order for your site to be seen, crawled, and indexed by Google, you have to submit it first. 

There are two main steps to submit your sitemap: 

  • First verify your site
  • Then submit your sitemap to Google Search Console

How to verify your site with Google Search Console

Verifying your site proves to Google that your online store is of your ownership. After the verification process is complete, you will have information provided by Google to see the performance of your site on the search rankings in Google Search Console.

Before you complete the steps of verifying your Shopify store, disable the password protection to make sure your store is live. If you aren’t ready for the store to go live, you can enable password protection after completing the verification process.

Once your store is live, just follow the below steps to verify your site with Google Search Console:

  • Navigate to Google Search Console.
  • Go to the left sidebar and click Add property.
  • When the Select property type dialogue box appears, enter your domain into the URL prefix. Click Continue.
  • Select HTML tag in the Verify ownership section and copy it to your clipboard
  • Go to your Shopify admin, click Online store -> Themes
  • Choose the theme to edit, then click Actions -> Edit code
  • Now paste your meta tag into the theme planned on publishing or your current theme. Go to Layout and select {/} theme.liquid
  • Once there, you will see your XML data.
  • Under the tag, paste the meta tag
  • Click on Save

How to submit your Shopify sitemap to Google Search Console

It may be relieved to know that this step has fewer sub-steps than verifying your site. There are just four things you have to do to submit your Shopify sitemap to Google Search Console:

  • Click Sitemaps in Google Search Console.
  • Under Add new sitemaps, type in the link to your sitemap.
  • Click Submit.
  • Under the Submitted sitemaps section, you will see a popup and your new sitemap listed

How To Add An HTML Sitemap Navigation To Your Shopify Online Store

For all of this post, we’ve especially focused on XML sitemaps but that is not the only type of sitemap you might want to add to your Shopify store. Sitemaps do have a more human-facing version which is HTML sitemaps. They are basically a list of links that help customers easily navigate around your store.

For example, here’s our sample sitemap at Kinsta:

HTML sitemaps don’t necessarily contain every single page on your site. Their main function is to let buyers have a quick summary of all of your most important pages. Though an HTML sitemap-navigation area can be created manually, a more automated approach is to use the Simple Sitemap plugin

About Simple Sitemap

Simple Sitemap aims to improve your store SEO ranking by automatically generating an HTML sitemap of your site. Just add this plugin to your store and get a full sitemap literally in seconds with no coding or setup required. It works straight out of the box and includes a variety of flexible personalization options.

Simple SItemap Plugin on Shopify

Simple Sitemap Plugin Features

  • One click install.
  • Automatically generates an HTML sitemap for your website.
  • Instantly update new collections, products and other content to the sitemap page in case there is any change in the website content..
  • Advanced options like pre-made templates to help you quickly create common types of sitemaps.easily change the title, description, or appearance of your sitemap page with no coding skills required.
Simple SiteMap plugin for Shopify Sitemap 1
  • Show all collections, products, pages and blog articles.
  • Can help hide any content on your sitemap page if needed.
Simple SiteMap plugin for Shopify Sitemap 2

How to create an HTML sitemap using Simple Sitemap Plugin

To use it, install and activate the plugin. The sitemap will then be generated automatically for you.

Simple Sitemap plugin for Shopify sitemap

Conclusion

It is fortunate that adding a Shopify sitemap is something you only have to do once for your e-commerce store. Besides, You typically don’t need to verify your online website multiple times in Google Search Console. Once you submit your sitemap, you will start getting full information in the Performance tab to see how many people visit your store from organic search.

An XML sitemap and an HTML sitemap are those things that every single Shopify store needs. While they are not going to rocket your site straight to the top of the search engines, they are a great way to get your site indexed faster and more thoroughly. Though XML sitemaps can not be manually created, HTML sitemaps can be generated individually.

Save time, costs and maximize site performance with Simple Sitemap Plugin

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  • No coding required