Monday, October 6, 2008

XML Sitemap A-Z Guidance

What is a XML Sitemap?

XML Sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs of your blog / website with some extra details which helps search engines to know better about your website / blog. Big G first introduced this in 2005 and soon after some time, Yahoo and Microsoft joined hands with Google to support the common sitemap protocol.

XML Sitemap Advantages

1. XML sitemap makes your website more search friendly by informing the search engine crawlers / bots about all the pages.
2. Newly added pages can be informed to search engines with ease with the help of XML sitemaps.
3. Help large sites like E-commerce websites to get index sooner
4. Help new websites to get indexed sooner in search engines.

The XML Sitemap Format

The Sitemap protocol uses XML tags and must be UTF-8 encoded. The following is an example XML sitemap with all optional tags and one URL.
*- , and are the optional tags here.

How to Create Sitemaps

One need not know the technical jargon to create this XML sitemaps. There are number of online free tools available in the internet to make this done in a matter of few mins. My favorite Google sitemap generator is Also here you can find a great list of third party sitemap generator tools from Google itself.

How to Submit Sitemap to Search Engine

1. For Google, Login to Google Webmaster Tool verify your website and add sitemap.
2. For Yahoo, through Yahoo site Explorer sitemap submission can be done.
3. For MSN, you can do this with a ping service. Replace with your URL
4. Robots.txt file also offers a way to inform search engines about your XML Sitemap.
5. HTTP request also helps you to do XML Sitemap Submission.
To do this, add use the following: /ping?sitemap=sitemap_url

Types of Sitemap

Google has recently implemented specialized Sitemaps for certain types of content. These Sitemaps are specific to Google and are not supported by other search engines.
1. Video Sitemaps – enables you to publish and syndicate online content and its relevant meta data to Google in order to make is searchable in the Google Video index.

2. Mobile Sitemaps – enables you to create a mobile Sitemap for mobile friendly URLs
3. News Sitemaps - allows publishers to give Google information that can appear in Google News search results
4. Code Search Sitemaps – helps users find function definitions and sample code
5. Geo Sitemaps – enables you to publish geospatial content (geo content) to Google so it can be searchable in Google Earth and on Google Maps.


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