Google Webmaster Tools Sitemaps Feature Gets Some Updates

    January 27, 2012
    Chris Crum

Google announced that it is including some new information in the Webmaster Tools sitemaps feature.

This includes details based on content-type, like stats from Web, Videos, Images and News featured more prominently.

“This lets you see how many items of each type were submitted (if any), and for some content types, we also show how many items have been indexed,” explains Webmaster Tools engineer Kamila Primke. “With these enhancements, the new Sitemaps page replaces the Video Sitemaps Labs feature, which will be retired.”

There is also now the ability to test a sitemap. “Unlike an actual submission, testing does not submit your Sitemap to Google as it only checks it for errors,” says Primke. “Testing requires a live fetch by Googlebot and usually takes a few seconds to complete. Note that the initial testing is not exhaustive and may not detect all issues; for example, errors that can only be identified once the URLs are downloaded are not be caught by the test.”

Google also has a new way of displaying errors, which the company says better exposes what types of issues a sitemap contains. Rather than repeating the same kind of error numerous times for one sitemap, Google will group errors and warnings, giving a few examples.

For sitemap index files, Google aggregates errors and warnings from the child sitemaps that the sitemap index encloses, so users won’t have to click through each child one at a time.

The functionality of the delete button has changed as well. It will now remove the sitemap from Webmaster Tools from both your account and the accounts of the other owners of a site.