Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sitemap Questions

Q: Where do I place my Sitemap?
It is strongly recommended that you place your Sitemap at the root directory of your HTML server; that is, place it at
In some situations, you may want to produce different Sitemaps for different paths on your site — e.g. if security permissions in your organization compartmentalize write access to different directories.
We assume that if you have the permission to upload, you also have permission to report metadata under

Q: How big can my Sitemap be?
Sitemaps should be no larger than 10MB (10,485,760 bytes) in length when uncompressed and can contain a maximum of 50,000 URLs. This means that if your site contains more than 50,000 URLs or your Sitemap is bigger than 10MB, you must create multiple Sitemap files and use a Sitemap index file. You should use a Sitemap index file even if you have a small site but plan on growing beyond 50,000 URLs or a file size of 10MB.

Q: My site has tens of millions of URLs; can I somehow submit only those that have changed recently?
You can list the updated URLs in a small number of Sitemaps that change frequently and then use the lastmod tag in your Sitemap index file to identify those Sitemap files. Search engines can then incrementally crawl only the changed Sitemaps.

Q: What happens after I produce my Sitemap?
After you produce your Sitemap, you will need to notify search engines of the Sitemap's location. The search engines that you notify can then retrieve your Sitemap and make the URLs available to their crawlers.

Q: Do URLs in the Sitemap need to be completely specified?
Yes. You need to include the protocol (for instance, http) in your URL. You also need to include a trailing slash in your URL if your web server requires one. For example, is a valid URL for a Sitemap, whereas is not.

Q: My site has both "http" and "https" version of URLs. Do I need to list both?
No. Please list only one version of a URL in your Sitemaps. Including multiple versions of URLs may result in incomplete crawling of your site.

Q: URLs on my site have session IDs in them. Do I need to remove them?
Yes. Including session IDs in URLs may result in incomplete and redundant crawling of your site.

Q: Does position of a URL in a Sitemap influence its use?
No. The position of a URL in the Sitemap has no impact on how it is used or regarded by search engines.

Q: Some of the pages on our site use frames. Should we include the frameset URLs or the URLs of the frame contents?
Please include both URLs.

Q: Can I zip my Sitemaps or do they have to be gzipped?
Please use gzip to compress your Sitemaps.

Q: Will the "priority" hint in the XML Sitemap change the ranking of my pages in search results?
No. The "priority" hint in your Sitemap only indicates the importance of a particular URL relative to other URLs on your own site.

Q: Is there an XML schema that I can validate my XML Sitemap against?
An XML schema is available for Sitemap files at, and a schema for Sitemap index files is available at You can read more about validating your Sitemap here.

Q: Does it matter which character encoding method I use to generate my Sitemap files?
Yes. Your Sitemap files must use UTF-8 encoding.

Q: How do I specify time?
Use W3C Datetime encoding for the lastmod timestamps and all other dates and times in this protocol. For example, 2004-09-22T14:12:14+00:00.
This encoding allows you to omit the time portion of the ISO8601 format; for example, 2004-09-22 is also valid. However, if your site changes frequently, you are encouraged to include the time portion so crawlers have more complete information about your site.

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