Wordpress, Google, & Yoast Working to Get XML Sitemaps into Wordpress Core


Staff member
BuSo Pro
Digital Strategist
Sep 3, 2014
This is really just a heads up, because there's bound to be some screw ups along the way for a lot of people, if not everybody, already using plugins to generate XML sitemaps on their Wordpress sites.

There's not a lot of details yet but they basically want XML sitemaps in the core with an API to tweak it, meaning you could write functions to add stuff, remove stuff, etc.

Right now, they're talking about having the following as default "on":

It's very similar to how Yoast has it set up now. You get a sitemap_index.xml basically that links out to sub-sitemaps. Only here there's going to be some extra types. Honestly, it looks like they're just going to copy Yoast (since I'm pretty sure Joost now works for Wordpress).

Interestingly, they're not going to include an image sitemap, which Yoast offers and is pretty nice. It's nice to see how many are indexed versus submitted.

We need to watch as this progresses so we don't have multiple conflicting sets of sitemaps.

Here's the first bit of official info: https://make.wordpress.org/core/2019/06/12/xml-sitemaps-feature-project-proposal/

The comments are interesting. They do not plan to have "UI controls to exclude individual posts or pages from the sitemap." This means if you set a post to noindex, it'll still appear in the sitemap and eat up your crawl budget. Non-developers are going to have a hell of a time with this and probably reject it for a 3rd party solution. Developers are going to have a hell of a time remembering to add a post to the exclusion function if they noindex it.

They want to make it "bare bones" and only meet minimal requirements and let plugins extend it through the API... or themes even. Sounds kind of dumb. Either do it right or don't bother. If it's not done right, it's bloat that belongs in a plugin.
Jul 22, 2014
I'm trying to envision a scenario where this default sitemap would work on a basic install.

Even if I created a 25 post site, with 5 pages and 20 posts, no custom post types, no tags, no custom taxonomy... it STILL wouldn't work.

Why? Because I don't want a user sitemap and I don't want user pages indexed. But you can't exactly have zero users on a Wordpress site.

So what they've done here is tell plugins like Yoast, "Hey, we want like 3/4's of your sitemap plugin in the core, but not all of it. We want to take enough that it's not really that functional on our end, so you'll still be needed, but now you need to strip most of yours out, but you can use our API to make yours functional again, which will be necessary since ours won't be functional."

This will be okay as long as they have one single option in the settings to turn it off or on. But much like the REST API... it probably won't be turn-offable.