Sitemaps are crucial to your Shopify site‘s search engine optimization. They help Google crawl your eCommerce website so it understands and processes your online store‘s content. In this guide, we walk through why sitemaps are important, and how to find and submit your Shopify sitemap to Google.
Where Can I Find the Shopify Sitemap?
Shopify sitemaps are XML files and cannot be accessed through the Shopify admin. To find a Shopify Sitemap, enter your store’s URL followed by a /sitemap.xml like www.storewebsite.com/sitemap.xml. This is your sitemap URL and will bring you to a screen showing your sitemap. You can see an example of an XML sitemap from Shopify below.
The Parts to a Shopify Sitemap
As you can see in the above image, Shopify sitemaps often contain individual sitemap links:
- Products – Any product you sell on Shopify gets its own sitemap.
- Product images – This sitemap has any images of your products.
- Pages – This sitemap contains the standard pages you create in Shopify
- Collections – A sitemap of your product collection pages
- Blog posts – Each blog post is collected in this sitemap
How a Sitemap Helps Your Shopify SEO
Sitemaps are like blueprints and guides to your website’s pages. Google uses sitemaps to crawl your website. Without a sitemap, you’re asking Google to blindly find and your website pages, and there’s no guarantee Google will index them so they show in the search results.
Whenever you create a new page or add a new product to your Shopify store, the sitemap is updated with the new URL. Sitemaps are particularly useful for eCommerce websites since they regularly change and update products depending on inventory.
Editing a Shopify Sitemap
Unfortunately, you cannot directly edit a Shopify sitemap. Unlike WordPress plugins such as Yoast or RankMath, which allow you to pick and choose what pages and content are included in your XML sitemap, Shopify generates your sitemap automatically and does not allow users to make any edits.
What About an HTML Sitemap?
There are Shopify apps that create what’s referred to as an HTML sitemap. HTML sitemaps are nothing more than a list of all the pages of your website, that you smack on a random page. An HTML sitemap should not be seen as a replacement for an XML sitemap, and we generally recommend against using them.
Submitting the Sitemap to Google Seach Console
While Shopify creates and manages your sitemap, you still need to submit it to Google. To do this, you need to set up a Google Search Console account. First, visit https://search.google.com/ and enter your email.
Next, you should see a screen with two options:
The first “Domain” option lets you set up a single Search Console account for multiple versions of your website. In the past, you had to have individual accounts for each subdomain, but not anymore. For instance, if you have a subdomain, such as store.mycoolstore.com, it’s recommended you use this option. Note that this option requires you to verify the websites through your DNS. This is a bit more complicated but can be done if you’re familiar with DNS.
The “URL Prefix” option is what most users should choose. It allows you to add any single version of your website like www.storewebsite.com. This is all most website owners need.
There are several options to verify you own the website, including uploading a file or using your Google Analytics account.
For this guide, we’ll show you what option every Shopify store owner can use to verify their site.
- First, choose the HTML Tag verification option and copy the meta tag
- Next, navigate to your Shopify website and log in
- Choose “Online Store” on the lefthand sidebar.
- Click the “Action” dropdown and choose “Edit Code”
- Underneath the “Layout” title, you’ll see a list of files. Click the file called theme.liquid
You’re going to see a bunch of code. Don’t worry. The next steps are super easy.
- Find the <head> tag. It’s usually towards the top of the code
- Now, navigate just below the <head> tag and find several lines of code that each starts with <meta>. There should be 4-5 of them depending on your theme structure. I’ve included a picture below of what this looks like
- Right below the last <meta> tag, paste the meta tag from Google Search Console you copied earlier
- Hit the “Save” button at the top
Just navigate back to Google Search Console and hit the “Verify” button to verify your website with Google Search Console. There’s only one last step to take to submit your sitemap to Google.
How to Add a Sitemap to Google Search Console
Now that you’re logged in to Search Console, you’ll see a lot of data available to choose from. But, the first step you need to take is adding your sitemap.
To do so, navigate to the lefthand side of the Search Console and click on “Sitemaps”. On the next screen, all you need to do is put sitemap.xml in the box, hit the “submit” button, and you’re good to go. Your sitemap has successfully been added to Google Search Console.
It usually takes Google a few days to process your sitemap completely. Once it does, you’ll be able to come back to the Search Console and see the pages it has processed from your sitemap.
Google Search Console is a must-have for any website owner or SEO. It not only helps Google understand your website but it allows you to see your organic search data even more than Google Analytics can. We recommend checking out the following resources here, here, and here for more information about how to use Google Search Console.