Google loves XML Sitemaps, it gives their bots an easy way to discover all your content. Even better, it gives webmasters a way to see how many of their URLs in their sitemap file were indexed and which URLs were not. But when it comes to how you should structure your XML sitemap file, that is totally up to you.John Mueller of Google said so on Twitter. John said, "We don't care how you structure your sitemaps -- they're read automatically, do what works best for you."Here are the tweets:Of course, the larger your site, the more likely you will want to break down your sitemap files by category or section. This way you, as a webmaster, can better debug issues with your site as it related to indexing. But from Google's perspective, it really doesn't matter how you structure your sitemap files.Forum discussion at Twitter. … [Read more...] about Google: Structure Your XML Sitemap As You Like
A few days ago, I found lurking in my inbox an email bearing the ominous news that the Google sitemap file for one of the sites I manage was "missing." Oh, dear! The email then helpfully offered a company's services to generate a sitemap for me, even directing me to a page on the company's site that would explain just what this allegedly incredibly complex code is and why I supposedly need one. Being a curious sort, I visited the site. Clearly I must be in the wrong business. These folks charge hundreds of dollars to generate a sitemap for you. They charge separately for creating a "Google sitemap" and a "Yahoo sitemap" (nearly $400 if you want both). And they want five to 10 business days to get the file(s) back to you! All this, when sitemaps.org spells out the XML file schema for a sitemap so you can create one yourself -- for free. I've looked at it; it isn't that complicated. Tedious to code manually, particularly if you have a large site? Absolutely, without a doubt. Probably … [Read more...] about XML Sitemaps Are Not All That
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 … [Read more...] about You Can Now Store Your XML Sitemap Files Anywhere!
After much confusion and frustration from multilingual site webmasters on how to properly use the hreflang element, Google announced new functionality to allow multilingual and multinational site owners to set the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”x” link annotation using XML sitemaps. This is a much better way of implementing it than telling webmasters to add hundreds of lines of code to their pages while simultaneously telling them to reduce lines of code. Help For Multiple Language Countries There are countries like Canada, Switzerland and Belgium that have multiple national languages and/or large populations that speak different languages resulting in companies creating specific language versions for these markets. Previously, we had no way to set both a country and languages since Webmaster tool’s Geographical Settings were for countries only. For example, Switzerland we could only tell Google that the German, French and Italian versions of the site were all … [Read more...] about How To Implement The hreflang Element Using XML Sitemaps
In the early days of search engines, I wasn’t much of a believer in XML sitemaps. But over time, I began to see first hand how they can benefit websites. XML sitemaps serve as a way to communicate directly with the search engines, alerting them to new or changed content very quickly and helping to ensure that the content is indexed faster. For content publishers, it’s become critical to help Google specifically understand if your site is the original publisher of content. Why? Panda. Content Syndication, Duplicate Content & Panda It’s not uncommon for publishers to syndicate their content on other websites. Further, it’s also not uncommon for publishers to have their site’s content “curated” by other websites without a formal syndication agreement. Unfortunately, the definition of content curation is fuzzy at best. In a quick Google search for a recent Search Engine Land article, I found over 47 copies of the article on other sites. … [Read more...] about The Importance Of XML Sitemaps In The Age Of Panda