EJM Designs Limited Blog

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DIY: XML Sitemap Submission and Validation

Tuesday I went through the process of creating an XML sitemap and demystifying autodiscovery. Today, as promised, we will delve into getting those sitemaps into the figurative hands of the search engines.

"Hey," you might say, "but if I've created my sitemap and bolstered it with autodiscovery, can't Google find it on their own?" Of course. But since no one except Google knows their own schedule, would you prefer to rely on a blind run or say "Hey Google! Over here!"

And while I am talking about Google in generalized terms, we will be covering validation and submission with the Big 4: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, and Ask.

The Setup

The basic setup for most of these is the same: you will validate that you have control over the site and submit a "feed" or sitemap. The validation process is either adding a validation meta tag to your home page or dropping a validation file in your root directory. Whether a tag or file, it's just an alphanumeric validation string so Google et. al. can prove that you own or have direct access to the site. The secondary part is telling them where your site is.


You will need a Google Account for this one. Once you have that, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools. Add a site. Validate your site by adding a meta tag to your home page or uploading a file to your root directory. Post the link to your sitemap. You're done!


You will need a Yahoo login for this one as well. Go to https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mysites. Just like Google, you're going to validate with a file or meta tag and post your XML sitemap "feed."

Microsoft Live

Again, you'll need a Microsoft login, hotmail or the like, to get into this site. Go to http://webmaster.live.com/. Rinse and repeat: upload a file to your site for validation and list your sitemap. Blammo!

No work yet on how bing.com will handle the issue.


This one's easy. Simply put this string into your browser:

http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//www.the URL of your sitemap here.xml

And that will ping the site to tell it your sitemap is ready for viewing and crawling.

Is sitemap submission a necessity? No, it is not; eventually the search engines will pick up on your sitemap or autodiscovery and get to crawling. But if you're a "cover all bases" and "ASAP" person like I am, go ahead and spend the half hour it takes to knock out all four of these and go to sleep a little easier.

I'm happy to take any questions or comments in, well, the comments area.

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