Google, Yahoo, MSN Debut

    November 16, 2006

There are certain partnerships and collaborations that inspire double takes: Microsoft and Apple developing a working Windows platform for Macs and deep-fried Coca-Cola come to mind. Well, there’s another log you can add to the fire and it comes in the form of an SEO tool, courtesy of search industry giants Google, MSN, and Yahoo.

>>>>  Watch our exclusive video interview with Vanessa Fox of Google and Tim Mayer of Yahoo.

The collaboration I’m referring to is the launch of, a webmaster protocol that is attempting to introduce a web standard for these documents. Essentially, the program is a group acceptance of the Sitemaps service introduced by Google. Yahoo and MSN jumping on board in such a vocal manner emphasizes this. In fact, the three engines unifying like this the most important aspect of Sitemaps launch.

I first learned about this unification at the 2006 Las Vegas PubCon, thanks to a video interview with Googleb’s Vanessa Fox and Yahoo’s Tim Mayer. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the room and discovered these were my interview subjects. To say I was expecting big news is an understatement and I was not disappointed.

This unified Sitemaps launch functions much like Google’s does. The site’s introductory paragraph says as much:

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, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.

The protocol page has the necessary information for creating a functional Sitemap and in true Google and Yahoo fashion; there is a robust FAQ page to answer questions for things like submitting the file when developed.
The importance of this “partnership” can’t be understated. A quote from the Live Search blog emphasizes the significance of this collaboration:

So, why are we excited to work on this? Because by agreeing on a standard, we can provide site owners with one simple way to share information with every search engine. You just publish a sitemap, and every engine is instantly able to read and use the data to more effectively index your site.

Chris Richardson
Staff Writer | WebProNews