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Google Sitemaps Goes Standard With Acceptance By Microsoft and Yahoo!

The Google Blog announces the sitemap protocol has now been accepted by Yahoo! and Microsoft as a standard for webmasters to assist with website crawling and “submissions”.

Last year we published the Sitemap 0.84 XML protocol as a free and easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about URLs on their web sites so that search engines can more effectively crawl them. We released it under the Attribution/Share Alike Creative Commons license in the hopes that other search engines would adopt the protocol too. And today, we’re excited to announce that Yahoo! and Microsoft are joining us in officially supporting the Sitemap protocol.

Let’s clear up the words first so you may understand what we’re talking about.

A site map is a page on a website or blog that lists posts, categories, and information on getting around on a blog like a table of contents or index.

A Sitemap is a generated file written in XML code or “language” that lists the posts on your site. When a search engine’s web crawler visits your site, it can read the sitemap, if you have one, and use it like a table of contents directory or index to make its way through your website or blog. While there are now some tools which turn your sitemap into a site map for your blog, users don’t “see” a sitemap as it is just a file that sits on your blog’s server site.

The idea behind Sitemaps is to help speed up the process of a web crawler crawling the site, as well as assist it in finding ALL the web pages on your site.

By default, WordPress blogs are simple and easy for search engines to crawl, so you don’t need to have a Sitemap unless you notice only a few pages from your site are NOT being listed on Google and other search engines. Your site’s design and intrasite linking might not be solid enough for all your posts to be found when web crawlers come to call. A Sitemap will help overcome the problem of your lost post orphans, helping the crawler find its way around your site thoroughly.

Whether or not you choose to go with a Sitemap on your site, take time to make sure your site is as navigation friendly as possible. Search engines follow your intrasite links to find their way through your site. The Sitemap is used as a form of checks and balances, helping them find what they’ve missed. Don’t let them miss anything the first time around.

If you would like to add a Sitemap to your WordPress blog, use Arne Brachhold’s Google Sitemap Generator for WordPress v2 Final.

You can learn more about Sitemaps from Google Sitemap, too.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

3 Comments

  1. Posted November 23, 2006 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Hello Lorelle, thanks for ur wds of wisdom. I had been seeking a site map, and installed Google’s newest version (1.7 i think?), anyway, i read on wordpress that if a site has existed for awhile it will actually cut the search capabilities (readership finding site) to about 50%!…but I am also mentioning the other reason for google’s site map, which was to find an index I could use on my site (the .xml file is not pretty). There is a website, maybe ur readers would be interested, that offers a google template, and .js .css scripting to add to the sitemap folder on wordpress. The site location for this info. for this “Human Google Readable Site Map” is at http://blog.leion.net/2006/06/02/adding-human-readable-google-sitemap/ Cant give more details, am just trying to install it now. thanks, cf

  2. Posted February 14, 2007 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Lorelle, your interesting post got “site map” and “sitemap” mixed up at one place. Just to clarify things a little: Arne Brachhold’s plugin generates a sitemap (XML file, e.g. sitemap.xml), while Dagon Design’s plugin generates a site map (web page that helps users to navigate within a site, e.g. page-sitemap/), even though its name includes the term “sitemap generator”.

    Yes, it’s confusing when not everybody uses the terminology consistently ;-).

  3. Posted February 14, 2007 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    You are right. I was totally confused by the Plugin author’s intro:

    This is not just another XML sitemap plugin…

    I thought it offered both a Site Map and sitemap. It only creates a Site Map. Thanks for helping me dig deeper to find the truth in the comments, not the Plugin author’s instructions and description.


4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] ちなみに、 Google Sitemaps Goes Standard With Acceptance By Microsoft and Yahoo! « Lorelle on WordPress でも記事になっています。 [...]

  2. [...] A “sitemap” is a term used by Google, MSN, and Yahoo! and is a file you can submit and store on your website’s server that no one sees but search engine web crawlers. They use the sitemap as a guide to help them move through your website, finding all your articles and posts. There are a variety of WordPress Plugins and online tools that will help you create and maintain sitemaps, and there is a growing trend to make the sitemaps “human readable” and turned into site maps, but this isn’t what we’re talking about here. [...]

  3. [...] filled with links to your various pages. A new technology called “XML Sitemaps”, started by Google and spread to Yahoo and other search engines, puts a hidden file on your host server listing all the published pages within your blog. I [...]

  4. [...] Google Sitemaps Goes Standard With Acceptance By Microsoft and Yahoo! [...]

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