Q: What is a Sitemap?
A sitemap is web page that contains information and links to all the pages on your website.
It will help Google find and index all your pages and content, which will help more people discover your pages through search engines. Though Google would have found your site anyway, the sitemap just makes sure they have a list of every single page on your site. You can think of it as a detailed map for your show's site for search engines like Google.
Every show's Simplecast site has a sitemap. Just add /sitemap.xml to the end of your site URL to see yours. So for example, https://randombutmemorable.simplecast.com/sitemap.xml.
Your sitemap will look something like this:
Why Are Sitemaps Important?
Google decides how often to check ("crawl") a website and how important that site is using a bunch of different factors. These factors include popularity, how many external links there are that point to the site, how long the site has been online, how often it's updated, and so on.
Submitting a sitemap to Google manually just directly signals to Google that your site exists, and what all the links to all the pages are.
It's a good idea to be proactive here and submit your sitemap to Google, rather than waiting for Google's search robots to get around to searching through your site to make their own map of the site.
Submitting a sitemap is a one time process, so once you've submitted your sitemap to Google, you won't have to do it again. However, if you make large changes to your site it's a good idea to request a refresh on Google Search Console. This tells Google to re-index/crawl your site.
How Do I Find My Show's Sitemap?
If you paste that URL/link into your web browser, you should see your show's sitemap page.
How to Submit Your Show's Sitemap to Google
The submission process is pretty straightforward for shows without custom domain URLs. Copy the link to your show's sitemap and head to https://search.google.com/search-console/about. Follow the instructions there to submit your show's sitemap to Google.
If your show has a custom domain setup, you'll need to follow steps to verify that you own your custom domain. There are a few different ways to do this, including using your Google Analytics ID, or by adding a TXT record to your custom domain's DNS records.
💡 To enable Google Analytics for your site, you'll first need to sign up for a Google Analytics account, then copy your Google Analytics ID and paste it into the Advanced section at the bottom of your Site Settings & Design page in your Simplecast dashboard.
Here's an example of the txt record you can add to your custom domain's DNS settings to verify ownership of the domain.
Google has help articles for all of this (See Verify Your Site Ownership), but if you get stuck, feel free to reach out to our support team for assistance.
What else can I do to help with SEO and find-ability?
There are a couple things you can do to help people find your show through search engines.
First, try to choose a unique title for your podcast that describes what the show is about, or matches what people might type into a search box when looking for your show (or a show like yours).
Second, choose episode titles that contain words that people might type into a search box (these are commonly called "keywords").
Finally, detailed episode notes can also help with discoverability.
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