How to submit your sitemap to Google, Yahoo! and MSN
XML sitemaps are a simple way for webmasters to inform search engines about the pages on their site that can be crawled by their robots.
A typical XML sitemap file lists each URL, along with information about when it was last updated, how often it changes normally, and how important it is, relative to other pages on the site.) This helps search engines crawl your site smarter.
In November 2006, Google, Yahoo! and MSN joined forces to support a new industry standard for sitemaps: Sitemaps 0.90. As long as webmasters follow protocol, they can ensure that their sites are fully and consistently indexed across all major search engines (a real step up). This article is important for everyone with missing or misclassified pages.
The official site of the joint venture is at sitemaps.org and contains a lot of information about the new standard and its syntax. What the site fails to do is correctly explain how to submit your sitemap to the big three! The suggested format on the site of:
Currently not working on any of the three sites! Until you do, this short article provides instructions on how to (a) create your sitemap and (b) submit it to each of the three major search engines …
Creating your sitemap
Some hosting providers (eg 1 and 1) provide utilities through their web control panel to create your sitemap, so you should always check with your provider first. If this service is not available, visit xml-sitemaps.com and enter your site’s URL in the generator box. Copy and paste the resulting sitemap into your notepad, then save and upload it to your site with the filename: sitemap.xml
If you want to validate the XML before uploading it to search engines (useful if you’ve made manual modifications), look at the XML validator (on the same site) where you can enter your sitemap URL and compare it. the standard.
Send sitemap to MSN
MSN has yet to implement a formal interface for submitting site maps (as of July 2007). To monitor the situation, visit (from time to time) the official MSN Livesearch blog (where future announcements are likely to be found).
While MSN has yet to implement a gateway, there is a recognized backdoor to submit your sitemap to the MSN search index; ie moreover.com! You must use the following syntax directly in the URL box of your browser:
Since February 2005, moreover.com has been the official RSS feed provider for the myMSN portal (see press release) and reliable evidence suggests that submitting to Plus will result in MSN spideing your pages within 2-3 weeks.
Note that although MSN doesn’t support drop shipping yet, on their blog they suggest that you add a reference to your sitemap in your robots.txt file (which is now supported by sitemaps.org). For instance:
Don’t allow: / cgi-bin /
This would tell MSN (and all other engines) to crawl your sitemap file, but not your cgi-bin directory. For more information on how to implement a robots.txt file (in the web server root of your site), visit: http://www.robotstxt.org
Send sitemap to Google
Google originally developed the XML schema for sitemaps and has developed a dedicated portal for webmasters, from where you can submit your sitemap:
First, you need to inform Google of all the sites you own and then verify that you actually own them. Verification is accomplished by adding a meta tag between the header tags on your site’s home page. The syntax of the tag is as follows:
There are full instructions on how to do this on the Google site.
Send sitemap to Yahoo!
Yahoo follows a similar approach to Google. Again, there is a dedicated service for webmasters (Yahoo! Site Explorer) and a procedure to verify your ownership of the site. First go to:
Add a site, then click the check button. You can then download a verification key html file, which you will need to upload to the root directory of your web server. Then you can go back to Site Explorer and tell Yahoo to start authentication. This will take up to 24 hours. At the same time, you can also add your sitemap by clicking the manage button and then adding the sitemap as a feed.
Submit Sitemap for Inquiry
Ask follows a simpler approach for the other three. To submit your sitemap, simply enter a ping URL, followed by the full URL where your sitemap is located:
After clicking return, you will receive a reassuring message from Ask that your submission has been received. Very neat!