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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Heads Up Webmasters: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Join Forces on Website Indexing

In a rare act of collaboration, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have announced the adoption of a common protocol to index websites. The Big Three have agreed to adopt Google's Sitemaps protocol, which lets website owners submit an XML file containing the URLs of their site's pages. This lets the major search engines crawl sites more comprehensively. The Sitemaps protocol is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license so any search engine can use it.

What does this mean if you're a webmaster or blogger?

If you're already using Google Sitemaps, you don't have to do anything. Your Sitemap will automatically be indexed by the other two search engines.

If you haven't been using Sitemaps, it's a good time to start. The majority of your traffic is likely to come from search engines so you want to make sure all your pages are being indexed properly. All you have to do is place the Sitemaps file on your webserver and inform the search engines of its location.

For bloggers, using Google Sitemaps is still the easiest way since most of you won't be able to access your webserver directly. Just submit the URL of your blog's RSS feed to Google. For example, Blogger automatically creates RSS feeds for its blogs. It should have the form: http://[blogname].blogspot.com/atom.xml



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