The major search engines have announced an update to the sitemaps.org protocol which enables site owners to store their XML Sitemap files in any location — even on a different domain than the one referenced in the Sitemap. This will be a welcome change for those who manage multiple domains and would like to keep all Sitemap files in one place, as well as for those who would like to store their Sitemap in a location other than the root. The only caveat? You have to be able to edit the robots.txt file of the domain the Sitemap file references. The search engines made the announcement today on the Search Engineers Q&A panel at SMX West. Below, more about how this works and how to implement it on your site. Historically, your Sitemap file had to be stored in the same location as the URLs listed in that Sitemap. For instance: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml could include:www.example.comwww.example.com/folder1/page1.htmlwww.example.com/folder2.page1.html But it could not include:subdomain1.example.comwww.example2.com Similarly, http://www.example.com/folder1/sitemap.xml could include:www.example.com/folder1/page1.htmlwww.example.com/folder1/images/page2.html And could not include:www.example.comwww.example.com/folder2/page1.html The protocol required this to ensure that whoever could modify the Sitemap file also had ownership rights of the URLs listed in the Sitemap. However, this setup was problematic for some sites, including…
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