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How to Create & Setup Sitemap for BigCommerce?

Last updated: September 01, 2023
This article has been written and researched by our expert Avada through a precise methodology. Learn more about our methodology





How much do you understand search engine optimization (SEO)?

Most people in the eCommerce industry have learned of this concept, and they are aware that it has everything to do with applying keywords to the material to place higher in search results.

However, if that is all you know, you should spend some time researching this subject. SEO will have a huge effect on the popularity of your online shop. Organic searches account for 44 percent of visits to eCommerce pages, according to Backlinko.

Consider this statistic: 61.5 percent of traffic from a search engine results page (SERP) heads to the top three search results.

You can clearly see why it is important for your online store to rate highly on SERPs specific to your industry.

If you wish to outperform your rivals and advance to the search charts’ peak, you must recognize more than just keywords. Many other considerations, such as the sitemap, are at work here. This article will walk you through some basic steps to create and setup a BigCommerce sitemap.

Create & Setup Sitemap for BigCommerce

What is a BigCommerce sitemap?

Before we move through what your sitemap is, it’s crucial to understand how a search engine like Google operates.

Googlebot is a program that crawls the internet, which means it is actively tracking links from existing sites to find new pages to add to its index.

As Google detects a new website, it explores it to decide what it is about and if it might be applicable to search queries. This is regarded as “indexing” because it determines whether or not the store appears on SERPs.

So, for a page to appear in SERPs, it must first be indexed. And before a page can be indexed, it must first be crawled.

You don’t need to do much on your end for most pages to be crawled by Google. However, for places with a huge number of pages, such as online retailers, there is a good risk that Googlebot would not crawl the web entirely.

As a consequence, it is suggested that BigCommerce stores send their sitemap to Google Search Console.

Your BigCommerce sitemap is a collection of URLs to your sites. It functions as a blueprint for search engines, reminding them about what is accessible on the platform and how to navigate each website.

Googlebot may need to click through several links to enter those pages while crawling the frontend of your web. As Googlebot crawls a huge database, this is how certain sites can be skipped. However, with a sitemap, Google will view all of the sites from a single location.

Now, we’ll go into how to navigate your BigCommerce sitemap and upload your sitemap to Google, as well as some other SEO best practices.

BigCommerce is an online shop creator mainly targeted at individuals who choose to create their own eCommerce platform (without worrying about having to code anything or involving developers).

The platform makes it easy to build a professional-looking online shop, and BigCommerce has become a common eCommerce solution for many companies, large and small.

However, it is one thing to create an appealing, functional shop with Bigcommerce; it is quite different to drive traffic to it with SEO.

BigCommerce’s SEO integration is one of the most vital features in my view.

When deciding where to rate websites, search engines check for ‘signals,’ and it is quite easy to ensure that the following are present on a BigCommerce store:

  • Security: Each BigCommerce strategy includes site-wide SSL.
  • Clean URLs: BigCommerce URLs are extremely flexible, making it simple to arrange them in a search-friendly manner.
  • Site speed: Certain BigCommerce models (the ‘Stencil’ range) include Akamai Image Manager, an automatic image optimizer that lets the site load faster.
  • Mobile-friendliness: All BigCommerce models are sensitive, and all of them support the AMP model for both goods and sites out of the box (AMP stands for ‘accelerated mobile pages,’ and it’s a Google-supported format that, as the name implies, makes the site load faster).
  • On Page-SEO: BigCommerce allows it very simple to adjust page names, meta info, and headings — all of which are factors that search engines take into account when categorizing the site for search results.

I’d also go so far as to claim that, of the leading online store construction networks — Shopify, Volusion, BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace — BigCommerce is possibly a class leader in terms of SEO.

This is because the other brands listed either do not support any of the above out of the box — or do not support it as well as BigcCommerce does.

Nonetheless, you will need to put in some effort to guarantee that your BigCommerce platform does and possible in search results.

Google will typically locate the bulk of the site if the sites are correctly connected. Nonetheless, a sitemap may help in the crawling of wider or more complicated locations, and more advanced files.

You may need a BigCommerce sitemap if:

  • Your website is very huge. Consequently, Google web crawlers are more apt to skip over any of the latest or newly modified sites.
  • Your website includes a vast archive of information pages that are either separate or badly connected to one another. If your site’s pages do not automatically link to one another, you should include them in a sitemap to guarantee that Google would not miss either of them.
  • Your website is fresh and has just a few external connections. Googlebot and other web crawlers explore the internet by following connections from one website to the next. As a consequence, if no other places connect to your websites, Google will not locate them.
  • Your web contains a lot of rich media material (video, images) or is featured in Google News. Where applicable, Google will take additional details from sitemaps into account for search if given.

On the other hand:

  • If your site is “thin,” you do not need a sitemap. By tiny, we mean 500 or fewer pages on your web. (Only sites that you believe should appear in search results are counted against this total.)
  • You’re using basic website hosting programs, such as Blogger or Wix. If your site is hosted on a service that enables you to easily build a site with pre-formatted pages and navigation elements, your service will automatically produce a sitemap for your site, and you won’t have to do anything. Look for the term “sitemap” in your service’s documentation to see whether one is created automatically or if you can create your own (and, if so, how to submit a sitemap on your hosting service).
  • Your website is extensively interconnected internally. This ensures that Google will locate all of your site’s relevant sites by following links beginning from the homepage.
  • You don’t have a lot of media files (video, image) or news sites that need to be included in the index. Sitemaps will assist Google in finding and comprehending video and picture files, as well as news stories, on your website if you wish them to feature in Google Search results. You do not require a sitemap if you don’t need these findings to show in Picture, Video, or News results.

How to submit BigCommerce sitemap to google search console?

Simply follow these measures to upload the sitemap to Google:

  1. Open Google Search Console and navigate to “Sitemaps” (if you have multiple sites attached to your Google Search Console account, make sure you have the right site selected).

Choose “Sitemaps” from the drop-down menu.

submit BigCommerce sitemap to google search console

  1. In the “Add a new sitemap” area, enter your BigCommerce sitemap URL and click “Submit.”

Because of a Google Search Console error, the status may read “Couldn’t retrieve” when it should be “Pending.” In that scenario, you’ll have to wait a few days to see whether the rating shifts to “Success” before deciding whether or not you have a problem.

Click the “Submit” button.

submit BigCommerce sitemap

  1. Replace the sitemap if you make major improvements to your shop, such as a mass upload or deletion of hundreds of products/pages. Small updates to your store do not necessitate the replacement of your sitemap.

First, to replace the sitemap, pick the obsolete sitemap from the list of “Submitted sitemaps.”

Click on the out-of-date sitemap to view it.

submit BigCommerce sitemap

  1. In the top-right corner of the device, press the three vertical dots button.

Select the three vertical dots button.

submit BigCommerce sitemap

  1. Press the “Remove sitemap” tab.

Choose “Remove sitemap.”

submit BigCommerce sitemap

Once the obsolete sitemap has been replaced, obey the procedures in the first two parts of these guidelines to add the current sitemap and complete the replacement.

BigCommerce Sitemap Error

URLs are inaccessible

When Google attempted to crawl a URL in your BigCommerce sitemap, it found a mistake. Inspect the URL in the sitemap with the URL inspection method to see if it is accessible to Google.

URLs that were not followed

Google was unable to crawl any of the URLs mentioned in your sitemap. Here are several potential explanations:

  • There are so many redirects in the URL for Google web crawlers to navigate. We recommend that you overwrite any redirect URLs in your sitemaps with the real URLs that should be crawled.
    • Using a permanent redirect while you are permanently redirecting from one website to another.
    • Redirects of JavaScript or meta-refresh can be stopped.
  • Google is having trouble with the sitemap’s relative URLs. Using utter or full connections instead of relative links wherever possible. When referring to any page on the blog, for example, choose https://www.example.com/mypage.html rather than just mypage.html.

    • URL is not approved

Any URLs in your sitemap are at a higher level or in a separate domain than the sitemap file.

Higher level: If your sitemap is listed as http://www.example.com/mysite/sitemap.xml, the following URLs are invalid:

  • http://www.example.com/ - a degree greater than the sitemap
  • http://www.example.com/yoursite/ - In the sitemap’s sibling directory (you must go up and then down to get to it).

Various domains: Check that the URLs all begin with the same domain as your sitemap position. For e.g, if the sitemap is located at http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml, the following URLs are invalid:

  • http://example.com/ - “www” is missing.
  • www.example.com/ - “http” is missing.
  • https://www.example.com/ - Rather than http, use https.

Error in encoding

When Google attempted to uncompress the compressed BigCommerce sitemap image, it found an error. Recompress your sitemap (using gzip), upload it to your site, and resubmit it.

Sitemap is blank

There are no URLs in your sitemap. Test the sitemap to make sure it isn’t zero.

Error with sitemap file size

Your sitemap is larger than the maximum file capacity.

When uncompressed, the sitemap is greater than 50MB. If the sitemap reaches the cap, split it into smaller sitemaps and display them in a sitemap index file before uploading the sitemap index file.

The attribute value is invalid

You gave an XML tag attribute an invalid meaning. Examine the sitemaps to ensure that only the permitted attributes are available and that you allocate only permitted values in accordance with the sitemap requirements. Check for typos of the attributes and beliefs.

The date is invalid

One or two of the dates in your sitemap are wrong. This mistake may be caused by an incorrectly formatted date or by the date itself becoming invalid. Dates may use W3C Datetime encoding, but the period part may be omitted. Check that the dates are in one of the W3C Datetime formats:

- 2021-02-21
- 2021-02-21T18:00:15+00:00 

It is not necessary to define a period (the time defaults to 00:00:00Z), but you must also specify a time zone if you do.

Tag value is wrong

One or more tags in your BigCommerce sitemap have an incorrect meaning. Examine the requirements for your sitemap form (index, standard, video, and so on).

URL is not true

A URL in your sitemap is incorrect. This mistake may be triggered by the inclusion of unsupported letters, spaces, or other characters such as quotations, or it could be attributed to improper encoding (for example, htp:/ instead of http://).

Check that the URLs in your sitemap are encoded for readability and correctly escaped. Examine the text for any inappropriate characters, such as spaces or quotations. You should even start pasting the URL into a tab to see if it understands the URL and loads the file.

Incomplete URL in sitemap index file: null URL

Your sitemap index file does not include the complete URL for each sitemap file mentioned. If we see a sitemap index file, we search for the data it corresponds to in the same directory. For example, if your sitemap index file is http://www.example.com/folder1/sitemap index.xml and your sitemap is listed as sitemap.xml (no/at the beginning), we’ll search for it at http://www.example.com/folder1/sitemap.xml. You’ll see this mistake if we can’t locate it there. Resubmit your sitemap index file after updating it to provide the full path to each specified sitemap file.

Invalid XML: there are so many tags

Duplicate tags can be used in the sitemap. Since the tag is mentioned twice, the following entry, for example, will result in this error:


The error message specifies the problematic tag as well as the line number. Resubmit the sitemap after removing the redundant stamp.

An XML attribute is absent

A specified attribute is absent from a tag in your BigCommerce sitemap. Examine the sitemaps to guarantee that no required attributes are lacking. Resubmit the sitemap after you’ve corrected the attribute values.

XML tag is lacking

A needed tag is absent from one or more of your sitemap entries. The line number is specified in the error message. For further detail on required tags, see the sitemap fundamentals tab.

URL for the thumbnail is off

A URL to a thumbnail picture is omitted from one or more video entries. Be sure to use the tag to specify the position of any thumbnail URLs.

The video title is absent

A title is absent from one or more video entries. Make sure that each video in your sitemap has a title, which should be stated in the tag.

Nested sitemap indexes: the incorrect sitemap index style

One or more entries in your sitemap index system make use of their own URLs or the URLs of other sitemap index files. A sitemap index file will only list sitemap data, not other sitemap index files.

Resubmit the sitemap after removing all entries leading to sitemap index folders.

Error in parsing

Google was unable to parse the sitemap’s XML.

This issue is often exacerbated by an unescaped character in the URL. Most data values (including URLs), including all XML archives, must use object escape codes for some characters like & ‘ “> of symbols Be ensure all the URLs are appropriately escaped.

Temporary error

Our system encountered a temporary glitch, stopping us from processing the sitemap. In certain cases, you do not need to resubmit the sitemap if you obtain this mistake. Google will attempt to retrieve your sitemap again in the future. If the mistake persists after many hours, resubmit the sitemap.

There are so many sitemaps in the sitemap index format

Your BigCommerce sitemap index file contains over 50,000 sitemaps. Divide the sitemap index into several sitemap index directories, each of which should include no more than 50,000 sitemaps.

There are so many URLs in the sitemap

Your sitemap contains over 50,000 URLs. Divide the sitemap into several sitemaps, each with no more than 50,000 URLs. To control your sitemaps, you may also use a sitemap index format.

Format not endorsed

Your sitemap is not in a format that is supported.

Here are a few examples of typical XML errors:

  • The proper header must be included with your sitemap. For eg, if your sitemap includes video content, the header will be as follows:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  • In the header, the namespace must be “http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9” (not .9).

  • Both XML properties must be enclosed in either single or double quotes (‘) “) and the quotation marks must be smooth, not curly. Curly quotations may be inserted using word-processing software such as Microsoft Word.

Path mismatch: www is incomplete

The link to your sitemap may not have the www prefix (e.g., http://example.com/sitemap.xml), however the URLs it mentions do (e.g., http://www.example.com/myfile.html).

Modify your sitemap and strip “www” from all URLs to fit the position of your sitemap.

Path mismatch: contains www

The connection to the BigCommerce sitemap requires the www prefix (for example, http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml), but the URLs found inside it do not (for example, http://example.com/myfile.xml).

Modify your sitemap and apply “www” to all URLs to fit the position of your sitemap.

Namespace is incorrect

The root part of your sitemap lacks the right namespace, is wrongly declared, or has a typo or incorrect URL.

Check if you’re using the right namespace for your file form. As an example:

  • A sitemap file: xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
  • A video sitemap file: xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1"
  • A sitemap index file: <sitemapindex xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9">
  • Other sitemap types

Whitespace in the leading

Instead of a namespace declaration, the sitemap starts with leading whitespace. XML files can start with an XML declaration that defines the XML version being used.

This error would not preclude Google from processing the sitemap, so you can delete the whitespace such that the file conforms to the XML format and you no longer see this error.

Specific code: HTTP error

When Google attempted to retrieve the sitemap, it found an HTTP error. This message indicates the status code that we got (for example, 404). Check that the URL you mentioned for the sitemap is right and that the sitemap exists at that address. After that, resubmit the sitemap.

Thumbnail is too broad

The video thumbnail picture in your sitemap is way too big. Reduce the resolution of your video thumbnail to 160 x 120 px. Resubmit your sitemap after updating it with the latest details.

The thumbnail is too small

The video thumbnail picture in your BigCommerce sitemap is too little. Reduce the resolution of your video thumbnail to 160 x 120 px. If required, revise the sitemap.

The position of the video and the location of the play page are the same

The video content URL and the player URL cannot be the same in a video sitemap. If you supply both and, the URLs must be distinct.

The URL for the video position seems to be a URL for the play website

The URL in a video sitemap refers to the website that contains the player. More details on using video material in a sitemap.

The sitemap includes URLs that are forbidden by robots.txt

Because of a robots.txt format, Google cannot access your sitemap or any of the material mentioned in your sitemap. Use the URL Inspection method to decide which files are being restricted, and then change the robots.txt file to allow Googlebot access to them.

Final thought

These simple measures for creating and configuring a BigCommerce sitemap can help you rank with the best among them. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals and optimized your shop, it’s time to delve deeper: connection building, marketing tactics, campaigns, social networking, and beyond. There is no end to what you can do with BigCommerce powering your online shop.

Roger has over 4 years of experience in SEO. While in college, he started learning about SEO and showed a passion for the field. Right after graduation, he embarked on SEO projects and achieved great success. After years of working, he has learned deeply about SEO. Currently, he is the SEO team leader at avada.io

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