XML Sitemaps – usually called Sitemaps, with a capital S – are a way for you to give Google information about your site. This is the type of Sitemap we’ll be discussing in this article.
If you’ve created and verified a site using Google Sites, we’ve already created a Sitemap for you. All you need do is submit it in the normal way.
If you have a blog with an RSS or Atom feed, you can easily submit that feed as a Sitemap.
Using an RSS / Atom feed as a Sitemap
Google accepts RSS (Real Simple Syndication) 2.0 and Atom 1.0 feeds. If you have a blog with an RSS or Atom feed, you submit the feed’s URL as a Sitemap. Most blog software creates your feed for you. If your site doesn’t have a feed, you can use Feedburner to create and publish one. Note that the feed may only provide information on recent URLs.
Creating a Sitemap based on a text file
A Sitemap should contain a list of your site’s URLs – up to 50,000 of them. If you have a large site with more than 50,000 URLs, you should create multiple Sitemaps and submit a Sitemap index file <>.
You can provide Google with a simple text file that contains one URL per line. For example:
For best results, follow these guidelines:
- You must fully specify URLs as Google attempts to crawl them exactly as provided.
- Each text file can contain a maximum of 50,000 URLs. If you site includes more than 50,000 URLs, you can separate the list into multiple text files and add each one separately.
- The text file must use UTF-8 encoding. You can specify this when you save the file (for instance, in Notepad, this is listed in the Encoding menu of the Save As dialog box).
- The text file should contain no information other than the list of URLs.
- The text file should contain no header or footer information.
- You can name the text file anything you wish. Google recommends giving the file a .txt extension to identify it as a text file (for instance, sitemap.txt).
You should upload the text file to your server, generally to the highest-level directory you want search engines to crawl. Once you’ve created this file, you can submit it as a Sitemap. This process, while manual, is the simplest and is probably best if you’re not familiar with scripting or managing your web server.
If you have multiple websites, you can simplify the process of creating and submitting Sitemaps by creating one or more Sitemaps that includes URLs for all your verified sites, and saving the Sitemap(s) to a single location. All sites must be verified in Webmaster Tools. More information.
Creating a Sitemap based on the Sitemap protocol
Google can accept Sitemaps in a number of formats, but we recommend creating a Sitemap based on the Sitemap protocol because the same file can be submitted to the other search engines, such as MSN and Yahoo!, that are members of sitemaps.org.
You can create a Sitemap in a number of different ways:
- Manually create a Sitemap based on the Sitemap protocol
- Use the Sitemap Generator. If you have access to your webserver and it has Python installed, you can use our script to create a Sitemap that uses the Sitemap protocol. The Google Sitemap Generator is a Python script that creates a Sitemap for your site using the Sitemap Protocol. This script can create Sitemaps from URL lists, web server directories, or from access logs.
- Use a third-party tool. A number of third parties offer tools you can use to create a valid Sitemap.
Other available formats
In addition to regular Sitemaps, you can also create Sitemaps designed to give Google information about specialized URLs. These include:
In general, there are two types of sitemaps. The first type of sitemap is a HTML page listing the pages of your site – often by section – and is meant to help users find the information they need. While this type of sitemap can help both visitors and search engines navigate your site, it’s different from an XML Sitemap that can be submitted to Google using Webmaster Tools.