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Major Search Engines adopt Google Sitemap Standard

The important part for our clients to know: we already use sitemaps on our sites, and in fact install the Google Sitemap module for Drupal as a matter of course.

For those of you technology news aficionados, here's teh full scoop:

In an encouraging act of collaboration, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft announced tonight that they will all begin using the same Sitemaps protocol to index sites around the web. Now based at Sitemaps.org, the system instructs web masters on how to install an XML file on their servers that all three engines can use to track updates to pages. This should make it easier to get your pages indexed in a simple and standardized way. People who use Google Sitemaps don’t need to change anything, those maps will now be indexed by Yahoo and Microsoft.

And way more than you wanted to know about Sitemaps, from Sitemaps.org:

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.

Web crawlers usually discover pages from links within the site and from other sites. Sitemaps supplement this data to allow crawlers that support Sitemaps to pick up all URLs in the Sitemap and learn about those URLs using the associated metadata. Using the Sitemap protocol
does not guarantee that web pages are included in search engines, but provides hints for web crawlers to do a better job of crawling your
site.

Sitemap 0.90 is offered under the terms of the Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License and has wide adoption, including support from Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.

Oh, but just so you know, it's so much more complicated than that.  This is all the stuff we pay attention so you don't have to.  (And we keep paying attention, as part of our service plan.)

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