There are many elements that may influence your Shopify website’s SEO. The Shopify sitemap is one of these factors.
Many Shopify site managers have complained about the oddity of many merchants’ sitemap.xml files, which aren’t meant for visitors but rather search engines that crawl and index their content.
To offer you a better sense of what Shopify sitemaps are and how to use them, we’ve developed this reference guide for all Shopify sitemap.xml concerns you may have.
Basically, sitemap.xml files make it easier for Google and other search engines to locate your site’s information.
The sitemap.xml, rather than a tangled web architecture, gives search engines another route to access your site’s information.
URLs within your sitemap.xml, on the other hand, will get indexed more frequently and provide canonical signals to Google, ensuring that your most important pages are included in the file.
Let’s get this party started!
What Is a Shopify Sitemap?
A Shopify sitemap is an XML file that search engines may use to find your website’s URLs. The Shopify sitemap is automatically created and includes references to your product, category, blog, and marketing pages. It’s not possible to manually change the Shopify sitemap.xml file.
Where Can I Find My Shopify Sitemap?
Your sitemap.xml can be found by appending the text “/sitemap.xml” to the end of your root domain. The following is an illustration of how to access the sitemap for the domain “example.com”:
What’s in the Shopify Sitemaps?
#1- Sitemap Index File
You can find your Shopify site’s sitemap index file by navigating here.
A sitemap.xml index file is a parent sitemap that contains links to all of your website’s sitemaps.
Child sitemaps are usually broken down by topic, and they’re called parent pages in this context.
In the screenshot below, there are four child sitemap links:
An example of a Shopify sitemap index file
Generally, Shopify will create four child sitemaps for the following page types:
- Product Pages (sitemap_products_1.xml)
- Collection Pages (sitemap_collections_1.xml)
- Blog Posts (sitemap_blogs_1.xml)
- Pages (sitemap_pages_1.xml)
This lets you categorize your sitemap.xml into sensible groupings based on the content on each page.
If your business has a wide range of products, Shopify may generate new child sitemaps in the index file to help organize it. Once the initial child sitemap contains more than 5,000 URLs, one additional child sitemap will be created.
sitemap_products_1 is close to 5,000 URLs. This creates a new child sitemap.
The maximum filesize for a Sitemap.xml file is 50,000 URLs. Shopify uses this method to stay under the 50,000 URL limit.
#2- Child Sitemap File
When you go to a child sitemap link, you’ll see a list of URLs belonging to that page type.
The number of URLs in each category is provided to Google and other search engines, resulting in a comprehensive list of all the URLs within that category. This makes it easier for them to find all of your site’s content without depending on your site’s architecture.
When you look at your Shopify child sitemaps, you’ll notice that each one includes a variety of components:
- <url>: The URL of that particular page
- <lastmod>: The last modification date of the page
- <changefreq>: An estimate of how often the page is likely to change
- <image:loc>: The featured image of that page
- <image: title>: The title of the page the image is on
An example child sitemap entry
All of these individual child sitemaps should include all of your site’s information.
Why is Submitting a Shopify Sitemap Important?
What are the benefits of submitting a Shopify store’s sitemap to Google?
We’ve mentioned how submitting a Shopify sitemap is an excellent marketing strategy to boost growth, but what impact will it have on our business and sales?
#1. For better SEO,
Give Google’s crawling spiders what they want, it could really help your store. Image credit
It’s impossible to know how much having a sitemap for your store helps your SEO, but it’s probably at least something.
Your Shopify sitemap is as clear a sequence of data as you can have on your online store, and Google favors clarity in data.
We’re not suggesting that simply adding your Shopify sitemap to Google will result in your store rocketing to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), but you can expect to improve a few ranks just by linking it.
#2. For faster ranking of new and updated pages
You’ll be updating your store on a regular basis, adding new items, modifying old ones, and completely overhauling individual pages.
It takes time for Google to catch up with and index the new material on your store, but including a sitemap helps it get a big boost.
Check out how Kyliecosmetics.com – a Shopify Plus merchant leverage organic traffic to sales growth
When a non-existent page isn’t included in a sitemap, Google is notoriously secretive about how long it takes to index the page. However, predictions range from 4 days to 6 months.
However, according to Shopify, it takes between 48 and 72 hours for a shopify sitemap you’ve submitted to be indexed. That’s a significant boost in speed!
#3. For efficient crawling of large sites
Sitemaps are particularly beneficial to Google in that they enable it to navigate large sites quickly. Naturally, Google is far faster at crawling well-mapped locations than comparable-sized ones without a map.
They define a ‘small site’ as one with 100 pages or less, and suggest that sites of such a size don’t need to submit a sitemap as the bots are capable of finding their way with navigation.
Shopify’s sitemaps are generated automatically as a result of the fact that all of its stores have more than 100 pages. Unless your store has more than 50,000 URLs, you won’t have to do anything to create your store’s sitemap.
#4. For (slightly) remedying poor internal linking
Internal linking is important, regardless of whether or not you’ve submitted a Shopify sitemap.
Another Google ranking factor is whether your store’s pages are linked internally to one another. This, it correctly points out, provides a positive user experience by allowing consumers to access what they want without having to go through a centralized menu.
Submitting your Shopify sitemap to Google helps the engine make sense of any issues caused by poor internal linking, thus improving your SEO.
However, there’s no replacing good internal linking for improving your site’s navigation manually. Rather than the Shopify XML sitemap, we’re discussing here, creating an HTML sitemap is a fantastic method to do it.
#5. For the future of your store
When artificial intelligence (AI) grows in strength and influence in our businesses, it’s critical to get your ducks in a row as soon as possible.
The crawling and categorizing game is getting more difficult for Googlebot. In just a few years, the program has advanced tremendously, and it’s reasonable to predict that all sites will require sitemaps in the future to fully profit from automated ranking technology.
It’s best to complete this as soon as possible. So, let’s look at how to submit a Shopify sitemap to Google.
3 Easy Steps to Submitting a Shopify Sitemap to Google
Check out our 3 simple steps for adding a Shopify sitemap to your Google Search Console.
Step 01: Finding your Shopify Sitemap
This part is pretty simple.
Simply input your Shopify store’s URL into your browser’s address bar, then /sitemap.xml to locate a Shopify sitemap.
If your shop is password-protected, you won’t be able to see your sitemap. You can turn off Shopify’s password protection on the Shopify dashboard and re-enable it after viewing your sitemap and confirming your store if there is a password on your Shopify store.
So, with beariestore.com/sitemap.xml, my shopify sitemap appears as follows:
This is a parent sitemap, which refers to all of my store’s other sitemaps. We can see that it links to four separate sitemaps in this view:
As the parent sitemap implies, these four parts are known as child sitemaps. It’s all rather cute, isn’t it? (If you want to keep the image of innocence, don’t read into broken-link “orphan sitemaps.”)
If you wish, you can dig even deeper into your child sitemaps if you like, but if all you want to do is submit your Shopify sitemap to Google, there’s no need. The developers at Shopify have already completed the sitemap for your store; all you have to do now is link it with Shopify’s engine.
Step 02: Verifying your Shopify Store
To link your Shopify store to Google Search Console, go to the search console section of this website. This is where Google will index your store and where you may add domains for it to index and improve its visibility.
Immediately after arriving at Google Search Console, you’ll be greeted with two options:
This is where things get a little bit more complicated but stick with us here:
Domain – Registering your store’s entire domain means that Google will be tracking data from all URLs on your website. This includes all subdomains (m. // www. // etc.) and all protocols (http // HTTPS // etc.)
URL Prefix – The ability to register a URL prefix allows Google to track data only on this one specific URL. There will be no other subdomains or protocols tracked, therefore you can, for example, monitor your blog separately from the rest of your website.
Normally, you’ll want to pick a domain in order for Google to index each of your pages. However, if you only need Google to track a certain area or area of your site, the URL prefix is a good alternative.
For this example, I’m going with the majority choice and demonstrating how to check your entire Shopify store using the domain option.
So, to summarize, I’ll go ahead and type my store’s URL (without any subdomains or protocols) into the domain field. My homexcellent.com business will be the winner here. This popup appears after I’ve entered my store’s URL into the domain box:
This is the 2-step process I have to complete to verify my store.
So, first and foremost, I’ll log into my domain name provider. For my business, I’m using godaddy.com, but keep in mind that most domain registrars employ the same sort of system and DNS settings as those I’ll show you.
On godaddy.com, I’ll click to my account settings and go to “my products.”
Scrolling down, I’ll come across “All products and services under which I may find my domains.” The domain of the store I’m looking for will be displayed here, and I’ll click on “DNS” to manage its settings.
I’m now at ‘Records’ in my store. These records are organized alphabetically by kind, with TXT being near the bottom.
Once I’ve located it, I may pick it and remove it.
Then, to add a new record and fill out its details, I simply click on ‘Add.’
- Select ‘Type’ as TXT
- Type @ into the ‘Host’ box
- Copy the TXT record from the pop-up of the Google Search Console and paste it into the ‘TXT Value’ box
Then, head back to Google Search Console and click ‘Verify’ on the pop-up box.
If you don’t, you should receive an email stating that your store’s ownership has been validated and a “Go to property” link inviting you to go to your Google Search Console dashboard.
Step 03: Submitting your Shopify Sitemap to Google
It’s simple to link your Shopify sitemap to Google once you’ve verified ownership of your store.
Simply go to your Google Search Console dashboard and look for “Sitemaps” in the navigation menu on the left side. Paste the URL of your sitemap into the box labeled “Add a new sitemap,” then click Submit.
Once you’ve completed all of the above, you’ll get a success message and your Shopify sitemap will be submitted if you followed all of our steps!
Under the heading ‘Submitted sitemaps,’ you can see your Google Search Console-submitted sitemaps and their ‘success’ status.
That’s all there is to it! You’ve successfully submitted your Shopify sitemap to Google and should enjoy faster indexing and increased exposure for your business from now on (just don’t tamper with your TXT settings!)
To certain businesses, this may appear to be an excessive amount of effort, therefore hiring Shopify experts from the Shopify Experts Platform might be an option.
Alternatively, you may utilize this reliable Shopify SEO software to help you generate, keep, and improve your SEO XML sitemap.
Can You Edit Your Shopify Sitemap or Upload Your Own Custom One?
Unfortunately, as of the publication of this article, you cannot upload your own sitemap.xml to Shopify and must use their generated file instead. Shopify support has verified that this is correct.
Although this might be restricting, in general, we prefer autogenerated sitemap.xml files. If you’re using a bespoke static solution, it’s possible that your sitemap won’t update as new pages are added and removed from your store.
Inventory is a potential concern because eCommerce stores’ inventories alter all the time. Overall, we’ve discovered that Shopify’s autogenerated sitemap.xml is a suitable option for our customers.
Common errors while submitting Shopify Sitemaps to Google
#1. Google Search Console Couldn’t Fetch The Sitemap?
Unfortunately, this appears to be a known issue in the new Google Search Console that affects users of CMSs other than Shopify. It’s typically linked to a bug in Search Console and there don’t appear to be any simple solutions readily available.
If you get this message when you submit your Shopify sitemap, double-check that your Search Console settings are correct.
If you’re using your myshopify.com subdomain to set up Search Console, this might be the problem. Create a Search Console property using your real root domain instead of doing it with your myshopify.com subdomain.
#2. “Indexed, not submitted in sitemap” In The Index Coverage Report?
You’ve probably heard of the Index Coverage report if you use Google Search Console and any of its reporting. This is a great tool that lets you see how Google is crawling and indexing your URLs in real-time.
This report gives you a lot of insight into how Google is dealing with things like your canonical URLs, 404 errors, and URL parameters.
The Google Index Coverage Report also shows how the company is handling your sitemap.xml files. You can discover this data in Search Console by going to Coverage Valid Index, not submitted in the sitemap.
For a few Shopify clients, we’ve found that Google will occasionally report URLs here:
Pages that are indexed but not in the sitemap.xml
We’ve found that URLs reported here aren’t usually high-priority problems to address. The following are some of the most frequent causes we encounter for Shopify reporting URLs as “Indexed, not submitted in the sitemap.”:
- False positives: Oftentimes we find that the URLs reported here are actually contained in the Shopify sitemap
- /collections/all/ pages: Shopify doesn’t seem to include these and their paginated URLs in the sitemap.xml
- Pagination: Oftentimes we’ll see examples of pagination excluded from your sitemap.xml
If this is something that you want to explore more, here’s how you can identify issues:
- Export all of the “Indexed, not submitted in sitemap” URLs in Search Console to an Excel spreadsheet
- Crawl these using Screaming Frog in “List Mode”
- After the crawl is complete, navigate to “Crawl Analysis” and click “Start”
- Navigate to the “Sitemaps” report in Screaming Frog and find “URLs not in Sitemap”. This will show you all of the URLs that are excluded from your sitemap.xml
This should offer you further insight into URLs that are actually indexed but omitted from your sitemap. This tool will provide you with more information on the URLs that are accessible while being blocked from your sitemap.xml file.
We strongly advise against using Search Console instead of Screaming Frog to get a proper picture of what’s in your sitemap file.
What to Do Next
Hopefully, you now have a greater knowledge of your Shopify store’s sitemap.xml file and what it’s intended to accomplish.
Users may find it perplexing, yet the sitemap.xml file’s main purpose is to make Google’s crawling of your website’s information easier.
This is particularly crucial for eCommerce sites since Google might have a harder time finding content on large websites if it’s simply scrolling down its typical architecture.
By providing a sitemap.xml file, search engines can avoid having to crawl through hundreds of pages of data looking for the information they need.
With the basics out of the way, you may now turn your attention to what you want – creating something that sells.