Yoast, Google, and others propose integrating XML sitemaps into WordPress Core

The XML sitemap proposal for WordPress Core would generate basic sitemaps without the need for a plugin and would also allow plugin-makers to build on top of the core functionality.

Thierry Muller, Developer Relations Program Manager at Google, announced a new initiative to add XML sitemaps to the WordPress Core. Thierry said the proposal was created as a collaboration between Yoast, Google, and various contributors.

Coywolf News spoke with Joost de Valk, founder of Yoast and one of the main contributors behind the proposal, about the reasons behind this new initiative. Joost stated:

XML sitemaps are a heavy support burden. I think moving them to the core makes a lot of sense if you consider that Yoast, Jetpack, AIOSEO, and Google XML sitemaps, 4 of the top 10 most installed plugins, all do sitemaps. They can still build on top of this new functionality, but it’ll make it a lot easier for hosts to get this working for all their customers and will make WordPress more search engine friendly out of the box.

– Joost de Valk, Founder of Yoast

The proposal is to add basic XML sitemap functionality. Sitemaps will be enabled by default and will automatically create XML sitemaps for the following content types:

The announcement included a visualization of what the proposed sitemap structure would look like.

WordPress Sitemaps
XML sitemap proposal for WordPress Core

I asked Joost what would happen to the sitemap functionality in current plugins like Yoast. He said they plan to remove their base functionality and build features on top of the sitemaps. He also assured Coywolf News that no functionality would be lost. He stated, the core implementation being proposed for WordPress won’t have features like adding noindex to a page. Those are features that Yoast will continue to offer, including the ability to automatically remove noindexed pages from the XML sitemap immediately, just like they do now.

If the proposal becomes reality, it will mean that plugin-makers will no longer have to provide the code to generate sitemaps. The WordPress Core will do the heavy lifting, which will allow plugin-makers to focus their resources on enhancing the core feature set. For example, plugin-makers will be able to utilize the core sitemap generator to create special types of sitemaps, like Image, Video, and News sitemaps.