SES: Search Supports Sitemaps Autodiscovery

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Major search engines Ask, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo jointly announced at SES New York their support of a new feature that makes sitemaps more valuable to webmasters.

SES: Search Supports Sitemaps Autodiscovery
SES: Search Supports Sitemaps Autodiscovery
SES: Search Supports Sitemaps Autodiscovery

It’s called autodiscovery, and those search engines, along with IBM, have embraced the sitemaps concept wholeheartedly. Webmasters can now place the location of their sitemaps inside a robots.txt file, where crawlers will find it proactively.

That saves some effort where webmasters had to submit sitemaps manually as they made changes to their site architectures. Ask.com recently added submission support for sitemaps, and their Infrastructure Product Manager, Vivek Pathak, will talk more about the subject as part of a morning session during today’s SES New York conference proceedings.

Ahead of that session, Pathak discussed sitemaps at Ask’s blog:

Comprehensiveness and freshness are key initiatives for every search engine, and with autodiscovery of sitemaps, everyone wins:

  • Webmasters save time with the ability to universally submit their content to the search engines and benefit from reduced unnecessary traffic by the crawlers
  • The search engines get information with regards to pages to index as well as metadata with clues about which pages are newly updated and which pages are identified as the most important
  • Searchers benefit from improved search experience with better comprehensiveness and freshness

Of course, neither autodiscovery nor manual submission guarantee pages will be added to the index. The pages must meet our quality criteria for inclusion in the index. And use of these submission methods does not influence ranking.

Sitemaps as a protocol gained a boost when Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo supported it openly in November 2006 at Sitemaps.org. Its utility gained approval and usage from a number of webmasters, and this latest development should enhance that appeal.

At the session, Google’s Vanessa Fox noted Sitemaps.org will be available in many international languages.

SES: Search Supports Sitemaps Autodiscovery
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