Monday, October 30, 2023

Submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. We've crafted a comprehensive step-by-step guide and helpful video tutorial to provide you with the information you need to navigate this essential aspect of web optimization.

Step 1: Sign into your Google Search Console account

First, go ahead and sign into Google Search Console using your Gmail email account. This is the first step to submitting your sitemap for indexing. You can do so by going to Google Search Console's website. Then click Start Now to begin. 

Google Search Console
Start by signing into your Google Search Console account.
Google Search Console
You will then be prompted to sign into your existing account.

Step 2: Select a property type

Next, add your property. You will need to add your university site using the URL Prefix option in Search Console (see below).  

Google Search Console
Add your Iowa site under the URL prefix property.

Step 3: Add your site domain name using the correct protocol

Next, type your site's URL prefix and URL. It's important to use the correct protocol (typically https://) and not just the site name! For example,

If you are adding a SiteNow website, always use this protocol.

Most campus sites should use the secure HTTP protocol (https://) these days. All SiteNow websites do. 

If you don't include the https:// protocol, it might seem like data is coming in to Search Console, but it will be incorrect and inaccurate. In other words, if you don't use the correct protocol when entering your site, your property won't be successfully added and the reporting will be misleading.

Google Search Console
Make sure you add your site using the correct protocol. 

Often site owners will be asked which verification method they want to choose and are usually given options such as: Google Analytics, adding a record to DNS, etc.

In this instance, choose the verification that is most appropriate for you.  In most cases, this means you should choose the Google Analytics verification method.  This means that Google will use an existing Google Analytics account for your web property to verify that you have rights to access Search Console information for it.

If you need assistance with verification, please reach out to the OSC web team

Once a site has been verified, a screen will display, stating that your property has been verified. Then you can go to your property. 

Google Search Console
A screen will display stating ownership is verified. Then you can go to your property.

Step 4: Submit your sitemap for indexing

On the left-hand side of the screen, scroll down to Sitemaps.  

Google Search Console Web Community Site
Navigate to sitemaps, under Indexing on the left-hand side.

To submit your sitemap for indexing, enter the correct sitemap name. All SiteNow website sitemaps are named sitemap.xml.

Click, Submit. A window will display indicating that you have submitted your sitemap successfully.

Google Search Console
To add a sitemap, you will want to type in sitemap.xml in the empty space after your site URL and then click submit.
Google Search Console
A window will display indicating that you have successfully submitted your sitemap for indexing. 
Google Search Console
Once your sitemap has been submitted successfully, you will see the status display as 'success' in green. 

Once you see the green Success message, your sitemap has been successfully submitted to Google. It is important to note that it can take some time for Google to index your site and to display data. Don't worry if you do not see data right away. 

It is important to note that whenever you launch a new site or redesign an existing site, you should always submit a new sitemap. Doing so ensures that Google can crawl the most up-to-date version of your site and can provide you with accurate feedback on your website. 

Additional option to verifying your site

There are multiple methods available to verify your SiteNow website on Google Search Console. Another option is by utilizing a site verification meta tag, which is fully supported and valid. You can find instructions for this process here.

Further resources on submitting a sitemap

Explore our supplementary materials, which include a step-by-step video tutorial for sitemap submission, along with an additional informative blog post

We hope these resources provide valuable information and tips to make sure you're prepared to successfully manage your sitemap and improve your website's visibility.