A Little More About Sitemaps

December 2nd, 2010

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Today’s article

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.

(с) Sitemaps.org


How easy is it to create sitemaps and submit them today?

Google, Bing and Yahoo support the standard XML protocol for sitemaps that was agreed upon in November 2006. All the three search engines accept the following formats: XML sitemap (detailed metadata for web pages), RSS/Atom feeds as sitemaps (for blogs and media), and TXT sitemap (a text file containing a list of URLs).

Later on, the web site owners’ needs forced Google to implement specialized XML sitemaps – each for specific content type; however these are not fully supported by Yahoo! and Bing.

Let’s see which Sitemaps we can submit to each of the major search engines.


Google Sitemaps

In addition to standard XML Sitemaps, Google supports specialized Sitemap extensions:

  • Video Sitemap.
  • Images Sitemap.
  • Sitemap for a website.
  • News Sitemap
  • Geographical (KML) information – created to help site owners provide more information about local websites. Read more about KML sitemaps at http://www.martijnbeijk.com/tutorial/using-kml-for-local-seo/

This year, Google has initiated support for a sitemap consisting of different content types. They wrote about it in their blog.

Bing Sitemaps

Bing supports all of the standard Sitemap files submitted as XML, RSS/Atom syndication feeds and it also recognizes the gzip format. As for content types, Bing suggests submitting mRSS Sitemaps for videos.


Yahoo Sitemaps

Yahoo! supports the Sitemaps format and protocol as documented on www.sitemaps.org – XML, RSS/Atom feeds, and recognizes the gzip format. They also support mobile sitemaps.


A few helpful tips

  • For some sites, there is sense in creating several Sitemaps and combine them into one index Sitemap. This would be supported by all of the 3 major search engines.
  • Common sitemap rules – 50,000 URLs maximum in one file and the limit of 10MB uncompressed file size – apply to all of the 3 major search engines.
  • If your sitemaps are large, compress them into gzip format and submit it as a sitemap. Search engines will recognize it.
  • You still can create HTML Sitemaps, they can be used by site visitors. There’s no need to submit such sitemaps to search engines. Matt Cutts talks on HTML sitemaps at YouTube.
  • Search engines’ ping service. Using your browser’s address bar, you can directly submit your Sitemap to Google, Bing or Yahoo.

    Google
    http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ping?sitemap= www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

    Yahoo!
    http://search.yahooapis.com/SiteExplorerService/V1/updateNotification?appid=SitemapWriter&url=www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

    Bing
    http://www.bing.com/webmaster/ping.aspx?siteMap=www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml


    The above having been stated, to be able to track indexed pages and sitemap status and any processing errors, it’s highly recommended that you submit Sitemaps from specialized Webmaster tools to every major search engine.
  • Refer to Sitemap from Robot.txt file. Add a line to your robots.txt as follows:
    Sitemap:http://www.YourURL.com/sitemap.xml
  • To generate sitemaps, you can use generators recommended by Google and WebCEO’s sitemap generator that you can find in the Editor function.

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Web CEO Metrics

Here we are sharing the generalized numbers from our HitLens Web Analytics service. It covers 300,000+ websites from all over the world.

This November Google referred 82% of all visitors who used SEs. Yahoo referred 8% of visitors to sites, same as in November 2009. Bing’s share is rising: it referred 7% of all visitors in November 2010.

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Global Search Engines (%)

You can see how visitors are being referred to websites.

Search engines gained 57% of visitor audience in November 2010 which is portrayed in the high-rise bars you see on the left of the chart. Bookmarking and linking shares are less popular than in November 2009 – they have referred 18% and 17%. The amount of people who clicked on paid advertising has increased to 5%.

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Visitor Referrers (%)

One Response to “A Little More About Sitemaps”


[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by vickietolbert, SEOMixTour. SEOMixTour said: More about Sitemaps http://goo.gl/JDEd0 #sem #seo [...]

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