If you are switching from Yoast SEO to Rank Math SEO plugin for your WordPress site, you may be running into the same issue I have where in the Google Search Console, you see “1 error” flashing red in your face under the category “status”. When it comes to Google Search Console, it is imperative if you are serious about your blogging efforts to have every inch of your site cooperating with Google. Don’t ignore it, because it won’t help you in SEO, in other words, you won’t get as much traffic when your amazing content should really see the light of day!
The error prompt within Google Search Console will say “Your Sitemap appears to be an HTML page. Please use a supported sitemap format instead.”
Where Can I See the Error in Google Search Console?
Log into Google Search Console, ensuring you have clicked your website in the top left corner of the sub-menu.
Then on the left side menu navigation, under “Index” click on “Sitemaps”. You’ll see that here I only have one “success” and three “errors”. This is to show you guys how to fix it with the easy steps below.
Why Is Rank Math Causing This Error?
The reason why when using Rank Math and Google Search Console together is led to the cause of your caching plugin in your hosting provider. Basically in other words, your old sitemap is cached with your site, so Google Search Console can’t identify and override it.
How Can I Fix This Today?
This takes less than 5 minutes after figuring out where to navigate within your WordPress dashboard and Google Search Console. I’ll take you through step-by-step, screenshot-by-screenshot on how to get this done. I didn’t have to wait over a day to get my new submitted sitemap to be validated, it was validated within 3-5 minutes.
Solution Step 1 – Know Your Sitemap URLs
I have 4 sitemap URLs for my posts, category pages, pages, and the sitemap index. Make sure to remember the URLs, or toggle back and forth from the sitemap page of Google Search Console. Here’s my sitemap URLs:
Solution Step 2 – Go to Hosting Plugin in WP Dashboard Settings
I have Siteground Hosting and they have a WordPress plugin that I have added when starting up this blog. In my WordPress dashboard on the left-hand menu, I’ll click on “SG Optimizer”.
Scroll down and you’ll see an input section for “Excluding URLs”. Copy and paste the four URLs you have identified in Step 1.
Solution Step 3 – Go to WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks
In your same WordPress Dashboard on the left-hand side navigation, click on “Settings” and then “Permalinks”. Scroll down and simply click “Save Changes” once. Yes, do not change any of the input fields, simply click the save button.
Solution Step 4 – Go to WordPress Dashboard > Rank Math > Sitemap Settings
In your same WordPress Dashboard on the left-hand side navigation, click on “Rank Math” and then “Sitemap Settings”. Scroll down and simply click “Save Changes” once. Yes, do not change any of the input fields, simply click the save button.
Solution Step 5 – Submit Sitemaps Again in Google Search Console
In your first tab opened with the Google Search Console in Index > Sitemaps, add your 4 sitemap URLs and submit again. You’ll see the same “1 error” and either it will show you immediately if it is successful, or refresh it after 5 minutes.
Solution Step 6- Sitemap Success!
This is what success looks like in your Google Search Console with your sitemaps! Woohoo! Nice job, you! Let’s keep on going and make beautiful content for the world.