Google Helps News Publishers With Sitemaps

    November 22, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

An expressed desire for better indexing from Google News has prompted Google to release a Sitemaps product specifically for those news publishers.

Google Helps News Publishers With Sitemaps
Bringing The Sitemaps Concepts To News Sites

While Google has emphasized the positives for using its newest Sitemaps product, they also took a little swipe at the publishers who have attacked the company in court over its news indexing practices:

While they’ve always been able to use technical solutions such as robots.txt to govern which portions of their sites Google crawls and indexes, this will give publishers more granular tools to tell our crawlers exactly what should be included.

The initial release is English-language only, so even if an agency like Belgium’s Copiepresse wanted to implement it immediately, they will have to wait for forthcoming options in additional languages.

Instead of simply offering Google News a RSS feed of their articles, publishers can craft a sitemap that tells Google exactly where its crawlers should go to find articles. Publishers can use the tools at Google Webmaster Central to determine where there may be indexing problems, and correct them for future crawls.

“These error reports will explain any problems we experienced crawling or extracting news articles from a publisher’s site,” Google News product manager Nathan Stoll wrote on the Official Google blog.

Andy Golding from the Google News team promised timeliness would be a focal point for news crawls, especially when using sitemaps:

Freshness is important for news, so we recrawl all News Sitemaps frequently. The News Sitemaps XML definition lets you specify a publication date and time for each article to help us process fresh articles in timely fashion. You can also specify keywords for each article to inform the placement of the articles into sections on Google News.

The additional data, including error reporting, that Google delivers to publishers should be a worthwhile reason for news sites to check out the new sitemap being offered.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.