The top 4 search engines now support Sitemaps
In November 2006, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft agreed to
support the Sitemap protocol. The Sitemap protocol is a standard
that can help you to submit all of your web pages to search
Last week, Ask.com joined the team so that now all four
major search engines support the Sitemap protocol. In addition,
search engines can now automatically detect your Sitemaps
What are sitemaps and what is the official Sitemaps
Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search
engines about pages on their sites that are available for
crawling. In its simplest form, a sitemap is an XML file
that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata
about each URL:
- when it was last updated
- how often it usually changes
- how important it is, relative to other URLs in the
That information helps search engines to more intelligently
crawl your site. The Sitemaps protocol is
a standard that makes it easier to create a sitemap that
can be parsed by all search engines.
How can the Sitemaps protocol help your website?
Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within
the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this
data to allow crawlers that support sitemaps to pick up
all URLs in the sitemap and learn about those URLs using
the associated metadata.
The sitemap allows you to inform search engines about
the pages on your website. Depending on how your website
is structured, it can be easier for search engines to find
all of your web pages if you use a sitemap.
How do search engines find my Sitemaps file? What's
The big four search engines Google, Yahoo, Live/MSN and
Ask will now automatically index your Sitemaps file if
you add a link to your Sitemaps file in your robots.txt file.
All the major search engines regularly check the robots.txt
of a website. Just add the following line to your robots.txt
Of course, you can also actively inform Google and Yahoo about
your Sitemap file. This is not possible with Live/MSN and
Does a Sitemaps file improve your search engine
Using the Sitemap protocol does not guarantee that your
web pages are included in search engines, but provides
hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your
A sitemap helps search engines to find your web pages
but it does not help you to get higher search engine rankings.
When search engines index your web pages, they must find optimized
web page content and good
inbound links. Search engines will only give your
web pages high rankings if they have both.
The Sitemaps protocol can help you to inform search engines
about your web pages. Further information about the new sitemaps
standard can be found on the official sitemaps web
If you want to actively submit your website to search engines,
take a look at IBP's search